Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 11, pp 10835–10845 | Cite as

Health risk of metal exposure via inhalation of cigarette sidestream smoke particulate matter

  • Li-Chuan Cheng
  • Chun-Ju Lin
  • Huei-Ju Liu
  • Lih-Ann LiEmail author
Research Article


Cigarette sidestream smoke particulate matter (CSSP) is a major source of airborne metals in the indoor environment. However, the health impacts of inhalation of CSSP-bound metals are rarely studied. In this study, we quantify the amount of 37 metals discharged through CSSP from a leading Taiwan brand of cigarette, Long Life. We also estimate cancer and non-cancer risks due to inhalation of these metals and investigate possible modes of toxic action. Long Life CSSP exhibits a distinctive carcinogenic metal profile compared with Western brands. When released to a 60-m3 poorly ventilated room, Long Life CSSP metals increase the risk for cancer by a 9.26 or 20.90 in a million chance and the hazard quotient for non-cancer toxicity by 0.496 or 0.286 per cigarette depending on risk estimation system. Cd accounts for more than 90% and 80% of cancer and non-cancer risk, respectively. Long Life CSSP also contains considerable amounts of Al, Ba, and Fe. Metals are not responsible for CSSP-induced cytotoxicity, oxidative stress, and transactivation activity of AhR, Nrf2, and ERα. However, they diminish resveratrol-activated Nrf2 activity and downstream antioxidant gene expression in low-AhR-expressing lung cells. Our results suggest that chronic exposure to Long Life CSSP elevates Cd-associated cancer and non-cancer risks. Furthermore, exposure to Long Life CSSP metals may impair Nrf2-mediated antioxidant protection.


Cigarette sidestream smoke Particulate matter Metals Health risk Toxicity mechanisms 



We thank Dr. Lun-Cheng Kuo and Mr. Weichia Chung for technique assistance. We also thank Dr. Hong-Yo Kang for the gift of the ERE-Luc reporter.

Funding information

This work was supported by the National Health Research Institutes (EO-105-PP06 and EO-106-PP06).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_4257_Fig4_ESM.png (98 kb)
Supplemental Figure 1

Representative photos for CellROX Deep Red detection of ROS production in live CL1-5 cells. Cells were exposed to 0-180 μg/ml cigarette sidestream smoke particulate matter (CSSP) or equivalent amounts of constituent metal mixture (CMM) for 1 h before staining (n=6). Menadione (25 μM) was employed as a positive control. (PNG 97 kb)

11356_2019_4257_MOESM1_ESM.tif (3.2 mb)
High Resolution Image (TIF 3228 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Environmental Health SciencesNational Health Research InstitutesMiaoliRepublic of China

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