Tobacco firms 'misled' public about additives

Cigarette giant Philip Morris 'obscured' evidence of toxicity, claims new report

The tobacco industry is accused today of misleading smokers over the safety of additives in cigarettes.

Based on a new analysis of data used by the US cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris a decade ago, which found the additives were safe, University of California researchers claim the firm's research "obscured findings of toxicity".

The original study by Philip Morris, called Project Mix, resulted in the publication of four papers in a scientific journal that concluded there was "no evidence of substantial toxicity" associated with the additives studied.

More than 300 additives are used in the manufacture of cigarettes to enhance their taste and make smoking smoother and more enjoyable.

The new study, by the Centre for Tobacco Control Research at the University of California, was based on the same data extracted from among 60 million documents released after litigation.

The researchers claim the original studies "cannot be taken at face value" and failed to reveal additives' dangers.

When they conducted their own analysis examining the additives per cigarette – as specified in the original protocol for the Project Mix study but later changed – they found the level of 15 carcinogenic chemicals increased by an average of 20 per cent.

They also discovered that, for what they call "unexplained reasons", Philip Morris had de-emphasised 19 of the 51 chemicals tested in the presentation of their results, including nine that were substantially increased in the smoke on a per cigarette basis.

Stanton Glantz, who led the new research published in the online journal Public Library of Science Medicine, said tobacco firms had spent decades preparing for the implementation of tougher regulation of their products, including the regulation of additives.

The use of additives had worried the World Health Organisation, the US Food and Drug Administration and national regulatory bodies in the UK and around the world. Philip Morris had used the four papers published in Food and Chemical Toxicology in 2002 to defend their inclusion in cigarettes.

When millions of internal company documents from the tobacco industry were released it enabled Dr Glantz and colleagues to reanalyse the data.

He said: "Putting additives in cigarettes increases the amount of fine particles and this is a bad thing because it increases the inflammatory response.

"If you take [Philip Morris's] own data and interpret it correctly, you could use this data to ban these additives."

A Philip Morris spokesman said: "We believe that the points raised in this recent paper by Stanton Glantz and others do not invalidate the findings of the Project Mix studies.

"All the Project Mix studies were reported alongside the actual data in four peer-reviewed scientific publications in 2002 and their way of calculation was discussed in one of the papers.

"The studies were performed according to well-established principles and standard toxicological guidelines."

In the mix: Added chemicals

Additives are used in cigarettes to mitigate the harshness of tobacco smoke and make the experience of smoking more pleasant.

Sugar is often added in the form of glucose, honey and molasses. Flavourings and spices can be added for the same reason, including benzaldehyde, menthol and vanillin or cinnamon, ginger and mint. Others used are orange oil or licorice extract. The most common are menthol, cocoa and glycerol.

Other unusual substances, not mentioned in this particular study but often added to cigarettes, include vinegar and pimenta leaf oil, which is used in non-alcoholic beverages and ice cream.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

    £6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

    £12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

    Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

    £32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

    Day In a Page

    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing
    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower