biologics, devices, food additives, toxic chemicals, and environmental contaminants and should be required of all tobacco products, whether conventional or modified.
Although FTC regulation requires public reporting of some constituents in cigarette smoke, manufacturers are not required to report brand-specific information about the nicotine content or other properties (e.g., nitrosamine level) of the material that forms the tobacco rod. Under legislation enacted in 1986, manufacturers of smokeless products are required to report total nicotine content to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), but the secretary may not release the data. Under the same legislation, tobacco manufacturers are required to submit lists of additives to the tobacco (but not to filters or papers) to the secretary of HHS. Information about the quantity of additives and their presence in specific brands is not required, and the secretary is bound to safeguard the information from public disclosure. In 1993, attorneys for six cigarette manufacturers released a combined list of 599 additives. The following year, ten manufacturers of smokeless products released a list of additives in their products. Three states have enacted legislation requiring disclosure of additives in tobacco products (U.S. DHHS, 2000).
All tobacco products should be assessed for yields of nicotine and other tobacco toxicants according to a method that reflects actual circumstances of human consumption; when necessary to support claims, human exposure to various constituents of tobacco smoke should be assessed using appropriate biomarkers. Accurate information regarding yield range and human exposure should be communicated to consumers in terms that are understandable and not misleading.
The actual yield—that is, the amount of toxicants inhaled by an individual—from particular cigarettes varies considerably among smokers. As discussed in Chapter 11, this is because the standard yield is measured by a machine that smokes cigarettes in a mechanical and standardized way, whereas smokers can and do smoke their cigarettes with different numbers of puffs and different depths of inhalation. As a result, for any product, the temperature of combustion and the composition of the smoke varies among smokers depending on the pattern of smoking. The information required to address the relative harmfulness of tobacco products will be available only if an improved methodology for ascertaining the range of actual toxicant yields in human consumers is developed and applied; only then will there be a scientific basis for developing some of the features of a harm reduction program, including, for example, accurate labeling, meaningful definition of terms such as “low tar”, and reasonable standards for yields of tar, carbon monoxide (CO), or nicotine.