Tobacco Asia

Volume 20, Number 1

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28 tobaccoasia / Issue 1, 2016 March / April) By Thomas Schmid Filters – A Sometimes Overlooked High-Tech Cigarette Component When it comes to modern cigarettes, few consum- ers waste a thought on what is arguably the most high-tech component: the filter. Although non-fil- tered cigarette brands are still around, filter-tipped cigarettes reign supreme and currently make up the absolute majority of all cigarettes sold worldwide. While consumers may take filters for granted, they are in fact little technological marvels designed to not only enhance the overall smoking experience but to also remove varying proportions of larger smoke particles and water-soluble compounds like aldehydes and phenols. Tobacco companies have the choice of being supplied with ready-to-use filter rods from a myr- iad of manufacturing companies or produce their filters in-house, taking deliveries of raw materi- als such as cellulose acetate (CA), polypropylene (PP) or – since relatively recently - polylactic acid (PLA) tow in addition to a range of plug wraps and tipping papers. Both options have advantages and disadvantages. Dedicated filter manufacturers usually boast invaluable expertise in cost-effective- Filter manufacturers and cigarette companies are inextricably intertwined and depend on each other. Cigarette sales volumes also affect filter suppliers and they have to come up with ingenious solutions to stay competitive. ly developing custom-designed filter solutions that can help a tobacco company to either boost the image of an existing cigarette brand, launch a new brand, or quickly respond to market or consumer preference changes. Making filters in-house, on the other hand, may entail certain savings at the actual manufac- turing end, but besides purchasing and installing the required expensive machinery and training operating personnel it potentially also entails ship- ping and storage costs, as well as duties and taxes for the imported raw materials. However, more often than not larger tobacco firms may decide to combine these two options, i.e. make simpler fil- ters themselves while outsourcing more complex specialty filters. An Old Favorite Still Going Strong Relatively simple mono filters made of either CA or, occasionally, PP tow continue to dominate the global market. Essentra is one of the most innovative, proactive, and diversified filter manu-

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