Tobacco consumption has very important socio-economic implications. On the one hand, it represents an important business for tobacco companies and it is an activity that generates a lot of jobs in the agricultural and industrial sectors.
On the other hand, the toxicity of tobacco smoke is directly related to many diseases, and its treatment represents a significant expense for public health system.
In the recent years, heated tobacco products (HTPs) are becoming increasingly important. These are devices that contain tobacco and produce nicotine sprays. HTPs allow imitation of the conventional cigarette smoking habit, however, unlike these, in HTPs, tobacco is heated to a temperature between 250-350ºC without producing combustion, providing the smoker the possibility of enjoying tobacco without the need to burn significant amounts of it.
However, there is still a need to obtain cigarettes to be smoked in HTPs that emit less toxic products, while maintaining the pleasant sensation produced by conventional cigarettes.
In this sense, a Spanish research group have developed cigarettes to be smoked in HTPs containing specific catalysts which make it possible to selectively reduce the emission of toxic tobacco products.
The key of this is new cigarette is the presence of at least, one catalyst -mix of them-, selected among:
• Mesoporous silicates (aluminosilicates): Type MCM-41 or Type SBA-15.
• Zeolitic materials: ZSM-5, USY or H beta.
Additionally, the new cigarette is composed of:
• any type of tobacco (conventional, reconstituted, expanded, rolling, pipe, any mixture of them, etc.);
• a cellulose acetate filter, with at least, one membrane of impermeable material. It may also contain an additional membrane consisting of an adsorbent material; and,
• other additives (aromaticizers, flavourings, nicotine, etc.)
The catalysts may be mixed with the tobacco and/or in the adsorbent material of the additional filter membrane.
According to experiments carried out with a group of volunteer smokers, these new cigarettes maintain the sensations of pleasure produced by conventional products.
These new cigarettes could be useful for companies from the tobacco, tobacco filters or catalyst sectors. Companies from this or other sectors interested in the commercial exploitation of this technology through licensing agreements are sought. The potential partner should be responsible for the development of the commercial prototype, the validation of the technology, its installation and its introduction into the market. The university will be ready to provide technical assistance in each step, if required.