Dies ist eine HTML Version eines Anhanges der Informationsfreiheitsanfrage 'DG Env: Plastics lobbying since 30 May 2018'.




    
Ref. Ares(2018)6212026 - 04/12/2018
Proposal for a 
DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL 
on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment 
(COM (2018) 340 final) 
Tobacco Product Filters 
Filters are an important part of the design of a cigarette; they filter and reduce the number of toxicants 
inhaled by consumers and help ensure cigarettes do not exceed regulated levels of tar, nicotine and 
carbon monoxide.  
 
 “Smoke particles are removed by three filtration mechanisms, these being diffusion of the particles to 
the fibres, direct interception of particles by fibres, and inertial impaction of particles onto the fibres. 
 
Diffusional capture of particles by fibres, depends on the Brownian motion of the very small smoke 
particles and is considered to be the most important filtration mechanism, particularly for the smaller 
particles which have the most erratic paths.  
 
Direct interception depends on the particle being so situated in the stream flow through the filter that it 
will contact the fibre surface and thus be captured. Because of the mechanics involved, the capture of 
larger particles is favoured by this mechanism.  
 
Inertia impaction is where the mass of the moving particle resists a change in direction as the stream 
turns to flow around a fibre. The particle tends to continue on its former course and thus strikes the fibre 
and is captured. This mechanism also favours the capture of the larger particles”1 
 
A tobacco filter primarily contains three components: Cellulose Acetate, a hardening agent and 
adhesives. 
  Cellulose Acetate fibres (filaments) compose a tow band from which a tobacco product filter is 
formed. Cellulose Acetate fibres are about 20 microns in diameter and a tow band can contain 
between approximately 15,000 to 55,000 individual filaments. 
  As a hardening agent, triacetin (glycerol triacetate) is used to bond the tightly packed fibres 
together. 
  Adhesives are then used to fix the bonded fibres to a wrapping paper (plug wrap) and also to 
“close” the Plug wrap along the length of the filter.  
 
 
 
 
 

                                                 
1 Physical Mechanisms of Smoke Filtration (C. H. Keith) http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/hxe05c00/pdf 
 
 
 
 
 
 




    
Proposal for a 
DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL 
on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment 
(COM (2018) 340 final) 
Cellulose Acetate: material sourcing, conversion & manufacture 
Cellulose Acetate remains the most widely used material for making cigarette filters and has remained 
largely unchanged since its invention in the 1950’s. 
 
We work with sustainable suppliers (low CO footprint and water usage) to source renewable wood to 
produce wood pulp, the raw material for Cellulose Acetate. “Pure” Cellulose is obtained from wood pulp 
by the removal of Lignin and Hemi-Cellulose. Cellulose can be obtained from different natural sources 
(plant types) which have different cellulose content but ultimately once extracted it is all cellulose. 
 
Table 1: Chemical Composition of Some Common Fibres (% total) 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 





    
Proposal for a 
DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL 
on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment 
(COM (2018) 340 final) 
 
Cellulose Acetate is produced by the reaction of cellulose with acetic anhydride and acetic acid 
(acetylation) that is then partially hydrolysed and finally dissolved in acetone to produces a viscous 
“dope”. The “dope” is then spun to form the fibres with the desired cross-section. 
 
 
Image 1: Enhanced image of Cellulose Acetate fibres and Cellulose fibres 
 
 
Tobacco Smoke 
Tobacco smoke is an ever changing and extremely complex mixture of chemicals, many of which arise 
from several routes. The components are distributed between the gas phase and particles which 
constitute the smoke aerosol.  
 
With the aerosol particles making up a mass concentration of around 4-5%, cigarette smoke is a very 
high particle concentration aerosol.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



    
Proposal for a 
DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL 
on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment 
(COM (2018) 340 final) 
Phase Fraction 
TPD 
Emission 
FCTC [10], TobReg +9 & HC [25] 
regulation 
Permanent gases 
CO 
NO/NOx, HCN, Ammonia 
Acetaldehyde, Acrolein, Benzene, 1,3-Butadiene, 
Vapour 
Formaldehyde, Cadmium, Acrylonitrile, 
Organic volatiles 
 
Crotonaldehyde, MEK, Acetone, Butyraldehyde, 
Propionaldehyde, Isoprene, Toluene 
Semi-volatiles 
 
Phenol, o-cresol, Pyridine, Styrene, m-cresol, p-cresol 
NNN. NNK, Benzo[a]pyrene, Formaldehyde, Cadmium, 
Hydroquinone, Catechol, 4-aminobiphenol, 2-
Particulate 
aminonaphthalene, 1-aminonapthalene, 3-
Non-volatiles “Tar”, 
Nicotine 
aminobiphenol, Resorcinol, Arsenic, Lead, Chromium, 
Mercury, Nickel, Selenium, NAB, NAT, Eugenol, 
Quinolene 
Table 2: Phases of mainstream cigarette smoke and distribution of key classes of substance. 
 
* Note some chemicals, e.g. formaldehyde and cadmium partitioned between the vapour and the 
particulate phases 
 
Current emission limits, established under the Tobacco Product Directive (“TPD”), focus on setting a 
maximum delivery of 10:1:10 mg of Tar, Nicotine and Carbon Monoxide, respectively.  
 
NFDPM (Nicotine Free Dry Particle Matter) defines the Tar component of the particulate phase for 
regulatory purposes but does not directly define any other toxicological parameter. Some of these other 
constituents, particularly Organic Volatiles and Semi-volatiles, like Phenols (phenol, o-cresol, m+p-
cresol, catechol, hydroquinone & resorcinol) are of toxicological significance. 
 
In order to comply with the 10:1:10 maximum emission levels set by the TPD, the use of a non-plastic 
filter would require a complete redevelopment of the product which means the legislation is going far 
beyond the regulation of the single-use plastic product itself. Furthermore, manufacturers are not free 
to redevelop their products and must comply with strict rules concerning ingredients imposed by the 
TPD but also at Member State level. Regulation of the composition of the filter has the resultant effect 
of regulating the tobacco product and removing the key means by which tobacco companies comply 
with the TPD.  
 
 
 
 
 
 



    
Proposal for a 
DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL 
on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment 
(COM (2018) 340 final) 
Work thus far 
For decades, the industry has conducted extensive research into alternative materials to Cellulose 
Acetate and BAT has commissioned more than 20 different projects exploring the potential 
development of such alternatives.  
 
A large criterion set, which includes, amongst others, sustainability, availability, scalability, performance, 
consumer perception and financials, has been considered in the evaluation of any alternative filtration 
material. However, ensuring that priority toxicant emissions in mainstream smoke do not increase has 
meant that Cellulose Acetate has remained the primary filter material. Thus far, the intrinsic filtration 
characteristics and efficiency of Cellulose Acetate have not been matched.   
 
Filtration Efficiency 
Different filtering materials have different physical and chemical characteristics, resulting in varying 
degrees of filtration efficiencies and affinities to different compounds. 
 
Based on results of decades of research and development, tobacco products with non-Cellulose Acetate 
filter materials have always been hindered by the reduced filtration efficiency of these materials to 
certain compounds. 
 
In general, paper filters, from wood or from other plant types, have an inherent lower filtration 
efficiency/affinity to Organic Semi-Volatiles like phenols, which results in an increased presence of these 
compounds in the mainstream smoke.  
 
 
Type of Material (by groups) 
Filtration efficiency: Vapour, Semi-Volatiles & Particulate 
(vs benchmark when normalized to Tar) 
Cellulose Acetate 
Benchmark 
Alternative CA’s 
Comparable 
CA + Paper Mixes 
Potentially Comparable 
Paper – Wood pulp 
Increase in Volatiles & Semi-Volatiles 
Cellulose – Wood Pulp 
Increase in Volatiles & Semi-Volatiles 
Paper – other plant sources 
Increase in Volatiles & Semi-Volatiles 
Others [PLA, PVOH, PP] 
Varying results 
Table 3: Filtration Efficiency reference 
 
 
 
 
 
 





    
Proposal for a 
DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL 
on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment 
(COM (2018) 340 final) 
Tables 4 & 5 show some of the differences in filtration efficiency between Cellulose Acetate and other 
filtration materials. (These tables contain confidential commercial information). 
 
 
Table 4: Comparison of Cellulose Acetate vs CA + Paper vs Paper – Wood 
 
 
 
Table 5: Comparison of Cellulose Acetate vs Paper – other sources 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



    
Proposal for a 
DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL 
on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment 
(COM (2018) 340 final) 
Summary 
  The filter in a tobacco product is designed and manufactured to remove compounds from the smoke and 
depending on the material used, its filtration efficiency can vary greatly. 
  A new non-Cellulose Acetate material will lead to an increase in a number of smoke compounds, 
particularly Organic Volatiles & Semi-volatiles like Phenols (when normalized to Tar/NFDPM). 
  A new non-Cellulose Acetate material would represent a significant modification to the tobacco product 
and would therefore go beyond the regulation of the single-use plastic product itself.  
  A new non-Cellulose Acetate material, due to the changes it would generate in the overall product, could 
trigger unforeseeable and unknown changes in consumption behaviours.  
 
Conclusion 
Whilst there is currently no feasible alternative to Cellulose Acetate for filters, we are committed to 
finding a solution.
 We continue to seek to reduce the impact of our products on the environment by 
investing and innovating to test and develop alternative materials, both internally and with third party 
suppliers. However, it is imperative that we do this without compromising the level of emissions to 
which consumers are exposed.