Two experimental types of cigarette sidestream smoke (SS) were compared in a subchronic inhalation study on rats. Fresh SS (FSS) was generated continuously from the reference cigarette 2R1. Room-aged SS (RASS) was generated by aging FSS for 1.5 h in a room with noninert surfaces with materials typically found in residences or offices. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were head-only exposed to three dose levels of each SS type and to filtered, conditioned fresh air (sham-exposure) for 6 h/day, 7 days/week, for 90 days. Room-aging resulted in decreased concentrations of various SS components, e.g., total participate matter (TPM) and nicotine, while other components, such as carbon monoxide (CO), were not affected. The CO concentrations were 6, 13, and 28 ppm for both SS types. TPM concentrations were between 0.6 and 8.7 (μg/liter and thus up to 100-fold above the maximum of average concentrations of respiratory suspended particles reported for environmental tobacco smoke. Slight reserve cell hyperplasia in the anterior part of the nose as well as hyperplastic and metaplastic epithelial changes in the larynx were the only observed dose-dependent findings. The metabolism of benzo(a)-pyrene-as a proxy for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon metabolism-was induced in the nasal respiratory epithelium and in the lungs while no effect was seen in the nasal olfactory epithelium. The lowest-observed effect level was 6 ppm CO or 0.6 μg TPM/liter. Most of the effects seen were less expressed in RASS- than in FSS-exposed rats when compared on the basis of the CO concentrations. When compared on the basis of TPM, these effects were equally pronounced for both SS types, suggesting a major role of particulate matter-associated compounds. All findings reverted to sham control levels following a 42-day postinhalation period.