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November 19th, 2001:

Public Health Implications of Changes in Cigarette Design and Marketing

Cigarettes have changed dramatically over the last 50 years, but the data contained in this volume make it clear that the disease risks associated with smoking have not. Following the demonstration that cigarettes could cause cancer in the 1950s (Wynder and Graham, 1950; Doll and Hill, 1952, 1954; Hammond and Horn, 1958), cigarette manufacturers added filters to their products. They also embarked on an effort to lower the machine-measured tar and nicotine yields produced by their cigarettes when tested under a protocol specified by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Pillsbury, 1996). These changes led to more than a 60-percent reduction in machine-measured tar yields of U.S. cigarettes over the last 50 years (see Figure 1-1).

However, it appears that many of the same changes in cigarette design that reduced machine-measured tar yields also led to a disassociation
between the machine-measured yield of the cigarette and the amount of tar and nicotine actually received by the smoker (see Chapters 2 and 3). As a result, tar and nicotine measurements made by the FTC method for current cigarettes have little meaning for the smoker, either for how much he or she will receive from a given cigarette or for differences in the amount of tar and nicotine received when he or she smokes different brands of cigarettes.

The absence of meaningful differences in smoke exposure when different brands of cigarettes are smoked (see Chapter 3) and the resultant
absence of meaningful differences in risk (see Chapter 4) make the marketing of these cigarettes as lower-delivery and lower-risk products deceptive for the smoker (see Chapters 6 and 7). The reality that many smokers chose these products as an alternative to cessation—a change that would produce real reductions in disease risks—makes this deception an urgent public health issue.

Read the entire document on the Public Health Implications of Changes in Cigarette Design and Marketing here (251 pages).