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11 Percent Increase of Addictive Nicotine in Cigarettes: Report

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health having done a reanalysis of nicotine yield from major brand name cigarettes sold in Massachusetts //from 1997 to 2005 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 (MDPH) by the manufacturers, found that increases in smoke nicotine yield per cigarette averaged 1.6 percent each year, or about 11 percent over a seven-year period (1998-2005). Nicotine is the primary addictive agent in cigarettes.

In addition to confirming the magnitude of the increase, first reported in August 2006 by MDPH, researchers HSPH 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 four major manufacturers and across all the major cigarette market categories (e.g. mentholated, non-mentholated, full-flavor, light, ultralight).

Findings from the report "Trends in Smoke Nicotine Yield and Relationship to Design Characteristics Among Popular U.S. Cigarette Brands" will be presented at Harvard School of Public Health, Bldg 3/Rm 203, on Thurs., Jan. 18, 2007, 12 p.m.. The presentation is open to the media.

The analysis was performed by a research team from the Tobacco Control Research Program at HSPH led by program director Gregory Connolly, professor of the practice of public health, and Howard Koh, associate dean for public health practice at HSPH and a former commissioner of public health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1997-2003). The othe
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