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Tobacco Control

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Cigarette -- Testing and Research


Background Flavoured tobacco products are not restricted in Indonesia, a country with about 68 million adults who smoke. Most use clove-mixed tobacco cigarettes (‘kreteks’); non-clove (‘white’) cigarettes are also available. Although the use of flavour chemicals has been identified by WHO as promoting tobacco use, little has been reported for Indonesia about the levels of flavourants in either kreteks or ‘white cigarettes’.

Methods 22 kretek brand variants and nine ‘white’ cigarette brand variants were purchased in Indonesia during 2021/2022; one of the kretek packs contained three colour-coded variants, giving a total sample number of 24 for the kreteks. Chemical analyses gave the mg/stick (=mg/(filter+rod)) values for 180 individual flavour chemicals that included eugenol (a clove-flavoured compound), four other clove-related compounds and menthol.

Results Eugenol was present at significant levels in all 24 kreteks (2.8–33.8 mg/stick), but was essentially absent in all of the cigarettes. Menthol was present in 14 of 24 kreteks, with levels ranging from 2.8 to 12.9 mg/stick, and in five of the nine cigarettes, with levels ranging from 3.6 to 10.8 mg/stick. Other flavour chemicals were also found in many of the kretek and cigarette samples.

Conclusions In this small sample, we found numerous variations of flavoured tobacco products offered by multinational and national companies in Indonesia. Given the body of evidence that flavours make tobacco products more appealing, regulation of clove-related compounds, menthol and other flavour chemicals should be considered in Indonesia.


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