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10% more nicotine in Cigarettes since 1998!


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Doral 85 filter light had the biggest increase in nicotine yield, 36 percent. (Some of this may have been the result of an increase in the total amount of tobacco put in that brand's cigarettes, one expert said.)

Marlboro, the brand preferred by two-thirds of high school smokers, had a 12 percent increase in nicotine.

Kool menthol lights had a 30 percent increase in nicotine.

Newport menthol filter 100s was tied with Camel nonfilters for highest nicotine in 1998 -- 2.9 milligrams. In 2004, Newport menthols had risen to 3.2 milligrams.

Study finds 10 percent more nicotine in cigarettes


The Washington Post

WASHINGTON - The amount of nicotine in most cigarettes rose an average of 10 percent between 1998 and 2004, and brands most popular with youths and minorities registered the biggest increases and highest nicotine content, according to a new study.

While no one has studied the effect of nicotine increases on smokers, the higher levels could make new smokers easily addicted and make it harder for established smokers to quit.

The trend was discovered by the Massachusetts Public Health Department, which requires that tobacco companies measure the nicotine content of cigarettes each year and report the results.

Using a method that mimics actual smoking, the nicotine delivered per cigarette -- the "yield" -- rose 9.9 percent from 1998 to 2004 -- from 1.72 milligrams to 1.89 milligrams.

The amount of nicotine per gram of tobacco increased 11.3 percent over that period.

In all, 92 of 116 brands tested had higher nicotine yield in 2004 than in 1998, and 52 had increases of more than 10 percent.

Not only did most brands have more nicotine in 2004, the number of brands with high nicotine yields also rose.

"The reports are stunning," said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "What's critical is the consistency of the increase, which leads to the conclusion that it has to have been conscious and deliberate."

Massachusetts is one of only three states that requires tobacco companies to provide annual measurements of nicotine in cigarettes.

Texas and Minnesota also require tobacco companies to report nicotine data.

A spokesman for the Texas State Health Services Department said that although the agency had been getting the data for years, it has not had the manpower to analyze it.

A Massachusetts health department official said she had not asked tobacco companies to explain the trend.

Instead, she concentrated on the message for consumers.

"People need to be aware of this," said Sally Fogerty, Massachusetts's associate health commissioner. "If a person is trying to quit and is having a hard time, it's not just them. "There is an increasing percentage of nicotine that they are ingesting, and that may make it more difficult."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also focused on the potential behavioral consequences.

"We know nicotine is addictive, so if the amount of nicotine in cigarettes is increasing, it could make it even harder for the 70 percent of smokers who want to quit and the more than 40 percent who try to quit every year," said Corinne Husten, acting director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, in an e-mail.

Tobacco company spokespeople would not comment.

One company official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that while the nicotine content measured by smoking machines can vary by up to 6 percent between individual cigarettes of the same brand, "we don't know" whether a brand's production could differ that much every year.

However, in a 1,653-page opinion released two weeks ago in a landmark suit against the major tobacco companies by the federal government and several anti-smoking organizations, the judge found that cigarette makers adjusted nicotine levels with great care.

"Using the knowledge produced by that research, defendants have designed their cigarettes to precisely control nicotine delivery levels and provide doses of nicotine sufficient to create and sustain addiction," wrote U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler.

The ruling enjoined the companies from misinforming the public about tobacco's hazards.

The companies are uncertain what that means and cited the ruling as the chief reason for their silence Wednesday.

Reginald Fant, a clinical pharmacologist and nicotine expert at Pinney Associates, a consulting firm in Bethesda, Md., said that increasing nicotine content by 10 percent "would not be expected" to change how much a person smokes but might affect his ability to quit.

ONLINE: www.mass.gov/dph/

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I cannot believe they can get away with it.

Something is so very wrong.

As an elementary school teacher, this year I am no longer able to give out a piece of candy as a reward. This is a mandate, not sure if it is state or federal, to combat child obesity. And yes, that is a problem.

Not that I fed them often, but 16 days of completed homework equaled a lollypop. No more.

Meanwhile, tobacco companies . . .


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Look in Lung Cancer News Lung CAncer alliance Slams Tobacco Companies. anything for a Buck. On the lighter side More farmers are turning to other crops besides Tobacco. Eastern NC Is thinking of starting Truffles. THese are currently found only in Europe. Organic crops are also getting more noticed here. I live in the heart of Tobacco country. All 3 plants are 30 minutes from me.

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NEW YORK – Smoking is back in the cross hairs.

This fall, voters in a record eight states will be voting on tobacco-control initiatives that range from sharply higher taxes to smoking bans in most workplaces.

DONATING $125 MILLION: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a former smoker, is launching a global antismoking campaign.


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Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled that the tobacco industry had conspired to mislead the American public about the health effects of smoking. She also ruled that one remedy is to end use of the terms "light" and "low tar."

And the industry may face yet more counteradvertising: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently said he was donating $125 million for global antitobacco efforts.

The results of the state initiatives in particular will be a gauge of political will, antismoking groups believe. If the initiatives pass, they say, members of Congress will take notice and perhaps consider national regulation of tobacco. And as more states protect the rights of non-smokers, they point out, pressure mounts on more lenient states.

"By 2008 or 2009, we may have made every state smoke-free in restaurants and the workplace," says Paul Billings, vice president for national policy at the American Lung Association in Washington. "As people visit places like New York, California, Delaware, or Maine and have a smoke-free experience, they come to expect it in their own state."

As part of the tobacco-control efforts, states have been steadily raising per-pack taxes. The current average state cigarette tax, including Washington, D.C., is 93.7 cents per pack, up from 91.6 cents this January and up from 72 cents a pack in January 2004.

One of the latest such efforts is in California, where a coalition of health groups met last year to begin a citizen process to raise the state's cigarette taxes, which had not been hiked since the late 1990s. Using a recommended level suggested by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the groups settled on a hike of $2.60 a pack, which would make California cigarette taxes among the highest in the nation.

"We said, what is the amount that actually has an impact?" says Kris Deutschman, communications director for Proposition 86, the name of the ballot initiative. According to the American Lung Association in California, 200 underage kids begin to smoke in the state a day, and there are currently 200,000 underage smokers. "We think between the size of the increase and the use of the funds, it will prevent 700,000 kids in California from starting to smoke," says Ms. Deutschman.

But those opposed to the new tax, a combination of tobacco interests and business groups, have already been hitting the airwaves. John Singleton, a spokesman for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco in Winston-Salem, N.C., says raising taxes would "create all kinds of problems for retailers." It would "exacerbate" the smuggling problem, he says, and perhaps give extra money to those raising money for terrorism.

Terrorism and smuggling are "red herrings," replies Paul Knepprath, a vice president at the American Lung Association of California in Sacramento. "We already have the infrastructure to combat smuggling, and 70 percent of people buy their cigarettes at the most expensive place - the convenience store."

Reynolds, which has said it will spend $40 million fighting the ballot initiatives, is bankrolling opposition to proposed smoking restrictions in Arizona and Ohio. The company's strategy includes a competing proposal that sounds like health measures but allows smoking in bars and other places. "One of the few places we can interact with adults who smoke is in bars and nightclubs where typically the owner can set the smoking policy," says Mr. Singleton.

But the health sponsors of Arizona's proposed ban on smoking respond that there "clear differences" between the two plans. If Reynolds's sponsored proposal were voted in, it would potentially allow smoking at 3,000 restaurants that have bars. In addition, the Reynolds proposal does not provide enforcement.

"Their proposal just protects the pocketbook of Big Tobacco," says Troy Corder, communications director for Smoke-Free Arizona.

Antitobacco activists had hoped to get an infusion of money as a result of the government's racketeering lawsuit against the tobacco companies. But Judge Gladys Kessler did not fine them massive amounts of money because an appeals court had already limited the potential penalty.

However, Judge Kessler did prohibit the companies from marketing cigarettes by using terms such as "low tar" as of Jan. 1, 2007. According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2003 these brands represented 85 percent of all cigarettes sold in the US. However, antismoking groups expect the tobacco companies to adapt.

"The European Union and Brazil banned the use of light and low-tar cigarettes, but during the transition, the industry color-coded the products," says Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in Washington. "By the time the ban went into effect, smokers didn't need the labels."

However, antismoking forces can expect an influx of fresh money sometime in the future once Mayor Bloomberg decides how to distribute his funds to combat global tobacco use. "It could be the start of one of the most important public-health campaigns in history," says Mr. Myers. "It could speed up the process of reducing tobacco use in developing nations and those with the highest smoking rates."

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