Cigarette filter tips are manufactured onto the cigarette or purchased separately to be applied by the smoker. They are not a new contraption, but were created decades after the cigarette gained popularity. Today, cigarette filter tips are used to reduce the toxins from the cigarette. Some companies have developed special filter tips meant to benefit smokers looking to quit as well.
Types of Filters
According to researchers from Eastman Chemical Company, the filter tips are made of cellulose acetate fibre wrapped in triacetin plasticiser to bind the fibres covered in paper called plug wrap and the outer layer called tipping paper which is usually brown in colour to distinguish the cigarette tip from the rest of the cigarette. The cellulose acetate fibre wrapped filter tips are also a manufactured as separate pieces that fit inside a hand-rolled cigarette. The reusable filter tips are attachments made of plastic or metal with a mechanism inside that filters the tobacco smoke.
Menthol cigarettes have the menthol flavouring injected in to the cellulose acetate or cotton filter centre. This is in addition to the flavoured tobacco, according the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The menthol flavouring is also injected in what the FDA calls "aftermarket mentholation" the filter tips that have menthol flavouring injected inside the centre of the filter that is attached to a regular cigarette or rolled into a handmade cigarette. The plastic metal filter tips are attached to reduce the amount of nicotine that is inhaled.
In 2009, flavoured cigarettes were banned from the market. According to the FDA, preliminary versions of the law included menthol flavouring in the ban. In the final version, menthol flavouring was allowed. The concern was that black market versions of menthol flavouring would quickly flood the market in the form of menthol filter tips. Keeping them legal was a way to regulate this popular flavouring.
There is concrete scientific proof that cigarette filter tips can significantly reduce the amount of carcinogens within the cigarette from entering the body. Although a filter tip does affect the amount somewhat, its use cannot definitively prevent your risk of cancer.