Government calls for reduction in tobacco additives demonstrates need for separate tobacco regulatory authority

Monday 16 July 2001




For immediate release: Monday 16th July 2001


Government demand for reduction in tobacco additives underlines need for greater tobacco regulation



Responding to the Government’s call for the tobacco industry to remove harmful additives from cigarettes ASH said that this underlined the need for a Tobacco Regulatory Authority to exert greater control over tobacco products and the industry.


ASH’s Research Manager, Amanda Sandford, commented: “Currently over 600 substances are allowed to be added to cigarettes on sale in the UK.  Under the present voluntary agreement the tobacco industry has huge leeway over what it can put into cigarettes.


“Some such as ammonia may make cigarettes more addictive while sweeteners may make them more palatable for children. Unless the tobacco companies can prove that additives do not have these properties, they should be banned.”


As well as removing additives, tobacco companies should be required to use existing technologies to remove some of the harmful components found in tobacco smoke.  These include cancer-causing nitrosamines, volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide.


ASH endorsed the Government’s announcement to impose greater controls on cigarette production but said that this points to the need for an independent tobacco regulatory body to enforce these measures.


Amanda Sandford said: “While the Consumer Protection Act gives the Government  powers to require greater controls on the industry, it currently lacks the capacity to do this.  The handful of civil servants deployed to implement the tobacco control policy contrasts markedly with the thousands employed by the tobacco industry.  An independent Tobacco Regulatory Authority, made  up of scientists, lawyers and other experts would be able to enforce the regulations.”




The Health Select Committee, in its Second Report, The Tobacco Industry and the Health Risks of Smoking, (June 2000) recommended the establishment of a Tobacco Regulatory Authority.


For further information on tobacco additives and tobacco smoke see ASH’s summary Cigarette and smoke composition: sources of information

ASH’s report on tobacco additives: Additives in tobacco products


Contact: Amanda Sandford 020 7739 5902 or

Clive Bates 020 7739 5902(w) 077 6879 1237(m)