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Tobacco Additives

Tobacco Additives – A Study of the Available Literature


Tobacco smoking is the most widespread nonpreventable global cause of premature deaths developed by human beings. The harmless looking cigarette is a cocktail of specially tailored chemical additives, which causes immense addiction in the user, and eases the initial phase for the non-smoker to begin smoking.

No aspect of a cigarette is redundant of superfluous, every single added component has been scientifically designed, through many years of development, to refine and optimize the impact and the effect of the tobacco in the cigarette.

Smoking-related medical conditions, such as emphysema, heart disease, lung cancer and other cancers, are tragic consequences leading to suffering and death among users. These adverse effects regrettably only appear after a long time of repeated impacts, after the addiction to the cigarette has been established. Thus, unfortunately, these effects cannot be discovered and counteracted through early testing.

Benzyl benzoate (Xn: harmful), Allyl Hexanoate (T: toxic), Alpha Pinene (Xn: harmful and N: Dangerous for the environment), Menthol (Xi: Irritant), and Cocoa are just a few examples out of the massive number of additives that are frequently applied to cigarettes and tobacco products in general.


The primary aim of this work is to establish an international knowledge base about the additives that have been reported to the Danish Minister of Health, in order to provide the persons and decision-makers who work with these substances a secure source of exact information about them. We wish to provide insight into the various effects the additives can have on health. Additionally, this report discusses the toxic properties of additives, inform about the formation of countless new chemical compounds during the burning process of tobacco, Pyrolysis, and finally, the report also demonstrates how additives are contributing to tobacco addiction.

Existing legislation

In Denmark at the present moment there exists no legislation intended to govern and control which kinds of additives can be safely added to cigarettes. As this review indicates, a number of additives are hazardously toxic. The EU authorities frequently request from the tobacco companies information on what kind of additives they use, for what reasons, and if there exists some information about their toxic effects. However, such information is not often forthcoming. The lack of legislation on the use of additives in tobacco products have given the tobacco industry a free space here in Denmark, as opposed to in a range of other countries such as the USA, France, and Germany, which at least have some general guidelines for which additives are permitted.

Finally in 2006, House of Prince, a subsidiary to Scandinavian Tobacco Company, reported to the Danish health authorities a list of 299 additives that they claim to use in their tobacco products. 249 of these reported additives seem to be added directly to the tobacco, while the final 50 are used in the production of filter, ink, glue and paper. In this project we have focused only on these 249 directly added substances.

Read the full report on Tobacco Additives here.

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