Indian company’s cigarette filter arrests 85% harmful smoke compounds

Indian company’s cigarette filter arrests 85% harmful smoke compounds

By NAVTAN KUMAR | NEW DELHI | 6 January, 2018

An Indian company has come out with a unique cigarette filter technology which will arrest harmful smoke compounds, thereby, reducing the chances of cancer and other smoking-related diseases by 80% to 90%. The filter technology—ZIPAC (ZIP Activated Charcoal)—has been approved by the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), and is now with the Lambda Group. At present, cigarette manufacturers use cellulose acetate filter to filter smoke, but this has hardly helped in checking the harmful compounds that go inside lungs. The technology was developed after 19 years of research by Prof. I.B. Chatterjee of Kolkata University, along with over 100 research students. Cigarette smoke contains about 4,000 compounds, PBSQ (Para Benzo Semi Quinone), being the most harmful of them. It took about nine years for the professor to discover PBSQ, which consists of 100-odd compounds in a cigarette puff. The CSIR got this discovery patented with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). Speaking to this newspaper, Lambda Group executive director Kunjan Arora said Prof. Chatterjee worked hard to devise a way so that PBSQ does not go inside the human body. “It took him another 10 years to design a specific filter, called ZIP activated charcoal, which arrests PBSQ,” he said. CSIR gave this technology to NRDC. In 2016, group subsidiary, Lambda Televentures, bought this technology from NRDC. Arora said his company initially had two options—to set up a mega factory for manufacturing ZIPAC, or to sublicense the technology to the manufacturers. “We found the first option difficult. Therefore, we are now focusing on how to sublicense the technology to cigarette companies with government support,” he said. He added that his company has approached the manufacturers, but most of them are not too receptive of the idea as it will lead to an increase in the cost of production. “I did not find any zeal among the manufacturers. We are trying to impress upon the government to make this technology mandatory for cigarette manufacturers so that ill-effects of smoking could be reduced. This will also cut down the huge costs involved in the treatment of cancer,” he said.

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