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Smokin'! - In the Shadow of Leaves
Dappled in light & dark; a place to watch from, think, write, make & show images
Tuesday December 2, 2003
Dear Yahoo!:
Why don't cigarette companies list their ingredients?
Midway, Arkansas

Dear Addicted:
According to the CDC, current regulations require tobacco companies only to disclose levels of tar and nicotine on cigarette cartons. It would take a very large carton, however, to completely list the 600 odd additives contained in a single cigarette. Some of these include butane, formaldehyde, arsenic, ammonia, methane, and acetone.

Federal laws dating from the '80s require cigarette companies to submit their ingredients to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Bowing to increasing legal burdens, in 1994 six major cigarette manufacturers came public with a list of commonly used additives. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated that "although these ingredients are regarded as safe when ingested in foods, some may form carcinogens when heated or burned."

You can view the ingredients of Philip Morris tobacco products on the company's web site ( www.philipmorrisusa.com/ product_facts/ingredients/ brand_by_brand_ingredients.asp). You can view a similarly lengthy list of additives used in RJR Reynolds cigarettes ( www.rjrt.com/TI/TIcig_ingred_summary.asp). More than 40 of the additives listed have been known to cause cancer.

The Yahoo! Full Coverage page ( news.yahoo.com/ fc?tmpl=fc&cid=34&in=health&cat=smoking) dedicated to smoking issues features a number of helpful resources, including a fascinating Flash animation from NOVA on the Anatomy of a Cigarette ( www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ cigarette/anatomy.html). Most cigarette filling is comprised of "reconstituted tobacco," which is a pulp product made from tobacco plant detritus that is chemically treated, died, and cut to resemble leaf tobacco.
[NOTE: Some long URLs have had spaces inserted so they'll wrap & not cause layout problems. The links themselves should work, but if you copy the visible section, remove any spaces.]

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