Flavoring agents are added to cigarettes to improve taste. There are mostly permitted food additives, but some of them are restricted for use in food, cosmetics, and toys, since they can cause allergic reactions. Previous studies have investigated the levels of flavoring agents in tobacco but none has focused on their content in filter tips and capsules. Moreover, no studies have assessed the risk of adding allergenic flavoring agents in cigarettes. Here, we developed and validated a simultaneous analysis method for 25 allergenic flavoring agents and menthol with gas chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry to determine levels of flavoring agents in the tobacco, filter tips, and capsules of 54 commercial cigarettes in Korea. All cigarettes contained at least one allergenic flavoring agent regardless of the inclusion of flavoring capsules. Importantly, the filter tips and the capsules contained higher levels of flavoring agents than tobacco, highlighting the importance of the quantification of flavoring agents in these parts of cigarettes. Nevertheless, the risk assessment based on their levels in cigarettes suggested that their exposure was maintained at a safe level. However, the risk assessed from maximum menthol, linalool, and cinnamaldehyde exceeded one-tenth of derived no-effect levels, suggesting the need for further studies on their risk to human health.
- Allergenic flavoring agent
- Capsule cigarette
- Gas chromatography-tandem mass spec-trometry
- Inhalation exposure
- Risk assessment