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Nicotine In American Cigarettes Up By 11 Per Cent


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Nicotine In American Cigarettes Up By 11 Per Cent

19 Jan 2007

New research shows that the level of nicotine in major brands of American cigarettes has gone up by 11 per cent in the period 1998 to 2005.

The research was conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and a report is published on their website. The program was sponsored by the American Legacy Foundation and National Cancer Institute.

The scientists examined annual data submitted by tobacco manufacturers to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH).

The manufacturers' report includes the machine-based measure of smoke nicotine yield (the average amount of nicotine in the smoke that is drawn from the cigarette by a machine that uses the same amount of suction per "puff"), and measures of cigarette design that enable the delivery of the nicotine.

These design measures include features like cigarette ventilation, a technology that manufacturers use to manipulate nicotine and tar yield. Other design features manipulate the concentration of nicotine in the tobacco, and the number of puffs per cigarette. The manufacturers report this information for each market type of cigarette, for instance light and ultralight, mentholated, and so on.

Upon analysing the data the scientists found that the manufacturers have increased the level of smoke nicotine yield in cigarettes by an average of 1.6 per cent for each year between 1998 and 2005. And they did this in two ways. First by directly altering the concentration of nicotine, and secondly by changing the design features to increase the delivery efficiency of nicotine.

The research team was made up of scientists from the Tobacco Control Research Program at HSPH and was led by Howard Koh, HSPH's Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and one time Commissioner of Public Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and also by Program Director Gregory Connolly, HSPH's Professor of the Practice of Public Health.

In a statement released yesterday, Howard Koh said that "Cigarettes are finely-tuned drug delivery devices, designed to perpetuate a tobacco pandemic". He said that the tobacco industry is still very secretive about its products, and hides vital information from the public eye. He adds "Policy actions today requiring the tobacco industry to disclose critical information about nicotine and product design could protect the next generation from the tragedy of addiction."

Program Director Connolly said that the findings called into 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. Our analysis shows that the companies have been subtly increasing the drug nicotine year by year in their cigarettes, without any warning to consumers, since the settlement."

In the US is estimated that cigarette smoking causes 1 in 5 deaths a year, and about 900,000 people become addicted every year. It causes 87 percent of lung cancer deaths, the leading fatal cancer for both men and women, and is responsible for most cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx and larynx, esophagus, and bladder. (National Cancer Institute).

"Trends in Smoke Nicotine Yield and Relationship to Design Characteristics Among Popular US Cigarette Brands 1997 - 2005."

A Report of the Tobacco Research Program Division of Public Health Practice Harvard School of Public Health.

Gregory N. Connolly, DMD MPH, Hillel R. Alpert, ScM BSc, Geoffrey Ferris Wayne, MA, Howard Koh, MD, MPH.

Supported by American Legacy Foundation and National Cancer Institute.

Click here for the full report (PDF)

Online guide to Quitting (smokefree.gov, US)

Written by: Catharine Paddock

Writer: Medical News Today

Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/healthn ... wsid=61210

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