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Researchers at Cornell University are attempting to create a less harmful cigarette by using natural antioxidant extracts in cigarette filters.

Dr. Boris Dzikovski incorporated lycopene, the red pigment found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables, and grape seed extract, in the filters. He told UPI that the study showed these compounds can reduce the amount of cancer-causing free radicals produced in cigarettes. The researchers note that an important advantage of these compounds is they can be obtained in large quantities from byproducts of the tomato and wine industries.

While lycopene and grape seed extract were very effective in scavenging free radicals, the researchers found that cigarette filters loaded with these natural antioxidants lost a noticeable part of their scavenging capacity after a week of storage at room temperature. “Solving this problem can stimulate future application of lycopene and grape seed extract in commercial cigarette filters,” they said.

The findings appear in the Journal of Visualized Experiments, a video journal.

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