Cigarettes Still Kill

Tobacco additives found to be harmful despite previous reports

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Although the tobacco industry publicizes cigarette additives to be harmless, recent research suggests the opposite to be true.

Available today through PLoS Medicine, researchers at the University of California in San Francisco found discrepancies in the reports of tobacco companies.

Through the analysis of past studies, investigators determined that cigarette additives do increase the harmfulness of smoking, despite older studies that showed additives were not harmful.

"Quit using tobacco to lead a healthier life. "

Lead author Stanton Glantz, an analyst at the UCSF Center for Tobacco Research and Education, and his team explain, “The results demonstrate that toxins in cigarette smoke increase substantially when additives are put in cigarettes, including the level of [Total Particulate Matter].

In particular, regulatory authorities, including the [Food and Drug Administration] and similar agencies elsewhere, could use the Project MIX data to eliminate the use of these 333 additives (including menthol) from cigarettes."

Authors reused data from “Project MIX”—a 2002 study done by tobacco mogul Philip Morris’ self-titled company—as well as documents made available as a result of public litigation.

After scientists illustrated that additives increase cigarette toxicity, Philip Morris’ internal documents showed post-hoc alterations made to their analytical protocols.

Moreover, researchers found out that the original team investigating safety left out crucial information discovered when analyzing additives per cigarette. Glantz' group found fifteen carcinogenic chemicals that increased toxicity by twenty-percent or more.

According to the United States Surgeon General, the chemicals from tobacco smoke enter the lungs upon inhalation and the blood carries toxicants to the organs of the body. Nearly one-third of cancer deaths each year are linked to smoking because these chemicals tend to damage DNA.

The U.S. Surgeon General states, “there is no safe cigarette,” and “the evidence indicates that changing cigarette designs over the last five decades, including filtered, low-tar, and ‘light’ variations, have not reduced overall disease risk among smokers and may have hindered prevention and cessation efforts.”

Many therapies are available to those ready to quit smoking, and recent studies prove that those who take the plunge tend to live happier lives than those who don’t.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 19, 2011
Last Updated:
December 24, 2011