Report on Nicotine Yields & Cigarette Design

Yet another reason why no university – especially those with academic medical centers – should accept “research” funds from tobacco companies (follow links to full news release & full report as PDF):

A reanalysis of nicotine yield from major brand name cigarettes sold in Massachusetts from 1997 to 2005 has confirmed that manufacturers have steadily increased the levels of this agent in cigarettes. This independent analysis, based on data submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health by the manufacturers, found that increases in smoke nicotine yield per cigarette averaged 1.6% each year, or about 11% over a 7-year period (1998-2005).

The full report “Trends in Smoke Nicotine Yield and Relationship to Design Characteristics Among Popular U.S. Cigarette Brands” extended the analysis to:

1) ascertain how manufacturers accomplished the increase — not only by intensifying the concentration of nicotine in the tobacco but also by modifying several design features of cigarettes to increase the number of puffs per cigarette. The end result is a product that is potentially more addictive.

2) examine all market categories — finding that smoke nicotine yields were increased in the cigarettes of each of the 4 major manufacturers and across all the major cigarette categories.

Said Connolly: “Our findings call into serious question whether the tobacco industry has changed at all in its pursuit of addicting smokers since signing the Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 with the State Attorneys General….”

In an opinion in US vs. Philip Morris USA et. al. Judge Gladys Kessler wrote that tobacco companies “can and do control the level of nicotine delivered in order to create and sustain addiction” and further, that the “goal to ensure that their products deliver sufficient nicotine to create and sustain addiction influences their selection and combination of design parameters.”

Cigarette smoking causes an estimated 438,000 premature deaths (or about 1 of every 5 deaths) annually in the U.S., and approximately 900,000 persons become addicted to smoking each year.

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