Jun. 23 2014
WASHINGTON, DC – Design changes and chemical additives introduced by tobacco companies in recent decades have made cigarettes more addictive, more attractive to kids and even more deadly, according to a report issued today by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
The report, titled Designed for Addiction, details how tobacco companies purposely design cigarettes to make tobacco smoke smoother, less harsh and more appealing to new users, especially kids, and to create and sustain addiction to nicotine. Tobacco companies have made these changes without regard for the health impact and actually have increased smokers’ risk of developing lung cancer.
The report is being released on the fifth anniversary of the landmark law, signed by President Obama on June 22, 2009, that gave the Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate tobacco products. It calls on the FDA to require tobacco companies, at a minimum, to reverse the harmful changes they have made by issuing the first-ever product standards governing the design and content of tobacco products.
The report shows how tobacco companies have:
"For decades, the tobacco industry had complete control over how cigarettes were made, and they responded by making a deadly and addictive product even worse," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Now that it has the authority to regulate tobacco products, the FDA must require changes in these products to reduce the death and disease they cause. Decisions about how tobacco products are made and what is in them must now be based on protecting public health, not tobacco industry profits."
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health organizations have called on the FDA to issue the first-ever product standard to reduce the toxicity, addictiveness and/or appeal of cigarettes and other tobacco products. Among its key recommendations for accelerating progress in reducing tobacco use, the latest Surgeon General’s report called for "[e]ffective implementation of FDA's authority for tobacco product regulation in order to reduce tobacco product addictiveness and harmfulness."
While the United States has made enormous progress in reducing smoking, tobacco use is still the nation's number on cause of preventable death. Smoking annually kills 480,000 Americans and costs the nation at least $289 billion in health care bills and economic losses.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids report is based on an extensive review of scientific studies and tobacco industry documents made public as a result of litigation against the industry. It also draws on the conclusions of Surgeon General’s reports and the 2006 Final Opinion of U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler in her racketeering verdict against the major cigarette manufacturers.
The report highlights nine key ways in which tobacco companies have made cigarettes more addictive, more attractive to kids and more deadly:
Making Cigarettes More Addictive
Making Cigarettes More Attractive
Tobacco companies know that 90 percent of adult smokers start at or before age 18 and that smoking is unpleasant for new smokers, so they use chemical additives to make tobacco smoke smoother, less harsh and more appealing to the young, novice smoker. These additives include:
Making Cigarettes More Harmful
The new Surgeon General's report concluded that smokers' increased risk of lung cancer was most likely the result of two design changes in cigarettes: