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Re-analysis of cigarettes confirms tobacco companies increased addictive nicotine 11 percent

s were HSPH researchers Hillel R. Alpert and Geoffrey Ferris Wayne.

"Cigarettes are finely-tuned drug delivery devices, designed to perpetuate a tobacco pandemic," said former Commissioner Koh. "Yet precise information about these products remains shrouded in secrecy, hidden from the public. 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."

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. 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. Scrutiny by the Attorneys General is imperative. Proposed federal legislation has been filed by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Ma.) that would address this abuse and bring the tobacco industry under the rules that regulate other manufacturers of drugs."

Beginning in 1997, Massachusetts regulations have required an annual report to be filed with the MDPH by all manufacturers of cigarettes sold in Massachusetts. The reported data include machine-based measures of nicotine yield as well as measures of cigarette design related to nicotine delivery.

The Tobacco Research Program at HSPH obtained from the MDPH a complete set of brand-specific data from 1997 to 2005 and analyzed trends in smoke nicotine yield.

The discovery of an 11 percent increase in nicotine content, said Connolly, confirms recent statements by the US District Court for the District of Columbia that manufacturers have the ability to manipulate addictive additives, and, he said, "it underscores the need for continued surveillance of nicotine delivery in products created by an unregulated industry."
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Source:Harvard School of Public Health


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