BAT deception kept smokers hooked on harmful cigarettes.

Wednesday 08 February 2006

ASH news release:  Embargo: 00:01 Wednesday 8th February 2006


BAT deception kept smokers hooked on harmful cigarettes

Tobacco industry documents published today show that BAT designed cigarettes that would deceive smokers into thinking they were safer than regular brands. [1] Researchers have analysed internal documents from British American Tobacco (BAT) showing that the company knew that the low-tar yields measured by machine do not reflect how people actually smoke and therefore are not an accurate way of measuring nicotine and tar inhalation.  Despite this, the company marketed the cigarettes as a ‘safer’ alternative to higher-tar brands.


Amanda Sandford, Research Manager of the health campaigning charity ASH, said:


“This appalling behaviour yet again shows the tobacco industry’s total disregard for the health of its consumers. Although BAT scientists clearly knew decades ago that low tar cigarettes were no safer than higher tar brands, they nevertheless continued this deception.  Consequently millions of people remain hooked on smoking who might otherwise have quit.


Sadly, this deception continues as the industry exercises undue influence over the current method of testing cigarettes.  This system should be overhauled and the misleading measurements on cigarette packs should be removed as they give no useful information to consumers.”   [2]



Notes and links:

[1]  Hammond D, Collishaw NE, Callard, C.  Secret science: tobacco industry research on smoking behaviour and cigarette toxicity.  The Lancet  2006; 8 February 2006


[2]  The inadequacy of the present ISO machine testing system is revealed in an article in the current issue of the BMJ. See:


Contact: Amanda Sandford  020 7739 5902 (w)  ISDN available


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