A new UCLA study shows that at least 100 of the 599 documented cigarette additives have “pharmacological” actions, many of which enhance or maintain the delivery of nicotine and may increase the addictiveness of cigarettes.
As lawmakers debate whether to allow federal regulation of tobacco products, the study’s findings point to a need for regulation of cigarette additives as well.
Researchers investigated tobacco industry documents and other sources for evidence of possible pharmacological and chemical effects of tobacco additives. The study found that 100 of the 599 documented cigarette additives had pharmacological actions that camouflage the negative impact of smoke in the environment by masking odour, visibility and irritation (without equivalent efforts to decrease the harmful effects of second-hand smoke); enhance or maintain nicotine delivery; and mask symptoms and illnesses associated with smoking behaviours (many botanical and other additives have anesthetic, antibacterial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antiviral properties).
In fact, as early as 2000 the Massachusetts Public Health Department suggested in a report that “the tobacco industry appears to be using chemical additives to hide secondhand smoke by improving its odour, making it less visible or irritating, or decreasing the amount of it…”
In addition, a report by Medical News Today claims that the US government does not approve or control the "599 list" of non-tobacco chemical ingredients used to manufacture cigarettes. These additives, such as acetic acid (vinegar), chocolate, vanilla, and menthol are found in everyday foods. Scientists, supported by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), generally regard these substances as safe in foods, but the risks for smokers are not known after combustion in cigarettes and inhalation.
Before its release, the list of ingredients had long been kept a secret. The list of cigarette additives, as submitted by the five major American cigarette companies to the Department of Health and Human Services in April of 1994, includes the following ingredients:
Allspice; Ammonia; Anise; Apple juice; Apricot extract; Basil oil; Beeswax White; Beet juice; Black currant buds; Butter; Caffeine; Carbon dioxide; Carrot oil; Celery seed extract; Chamomile flower extract; Chocolate; Cinnamon leaf extract; Cocoa; Coconut Oil; Coffee; Coriander Extract and Oil; Corn Oil; various forms of Ethyl; Fig juice; Food starch; Ginger; Grape juice; Honey; Jasmine; Lavender oil; Mace extract; Maple syrup; Menthol; Myrrh oil; Orange blossoms; Orange extract; Origanum oil; Parsley seed oil; Pepper oil; Peppermint oil; Phosphoric acid; Pineapple juice; Plum juice; Raisin juice; Rose oil; Rosemary oil; Rum; Sage; Sandalwood oil; Smoke flavor; Sugars; Tartaric Acid; Tea leaf; Thyme oil; Vanilla extract; Vinegar; Violet leaf; Water; Wheat extract; Wine and sherry; and yeast, to name but a few.
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