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Next steps for the regulation of cigarettes Bill King and Ron Borland
Possibilities for regulating cigarettes 1. Regulate to attempt to reduce toxicity – Emission limits. 2. Regulate to attempt to reduce addictiveness – Nicotine limits. 3. Regulate to attempt to reduce attractiveness, especially illusions of reduced harmfulness. – Restrict engineering and additives that help mask inherent signs of toxicity, and/or make the cigarettes taste better than they otherwise would
Toxin reduction • Responsibility of companies and regulators • Combustion sets limits to possible amount • Requires selective filtration • If there were any easy solutions , the industry would have adopted them
Reduction in addictiveness • Phase out the nicotine – Prohibition by stealth, unless viable alternative source – NRT and/or smokeless tobacco • An agenda worth considering – But lots of research needed on viability
Reinventing the “gasper” • Cigarettes used to be little more than tobacco rolled in paper • Large numbers of additives to enhance flavour, facilitate inhalation of smoke etc • Filter ventilation key engineering feature that dilutes smoke, making it seem “lighter” • All plausibly add to consumer appeal, and are unnecessary
Low tar Australia • Australia took the ‘low tar’ harm reduction strategy further than any other country • The system of ‘tar bands’, with six prescribed categories, enabled the industry to produce a huge variety of ‘mild’ brands • Six varieties for major brand families • Most countries have only regular/ light/ ultra light for major brand families
The Winfield brand family 2005 • Nominal tar: 1 mg 2 mg 4 mg 6 mg 8 mg 12 mg 16 mg • % ventilation: 81 73 62 45 34 18 3
How do you get so much variety in tar yields and taste? • Simple: filter ventilation • Without filter ventilation you couldn’t produce more than 2 or 3 distinguishable varieties.
Post ‘Lights’ Australia • As of March 2006 Australian cigarette brands no longer have: – tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide figures on-pack (replaced by qualitative warnings) – Mild or Light descriptors in brand names • Labelling/ descriptions have changed – replaced by Smooth and Fine descriptors and colour schemes – But, we assume, actual cigarettes remain the same
Mild becomes rich and fine
Old T/N/CO figures and new qualitative warning
The PJ brand family in transition Nominal tar: 1 mg 2 mg 4 mg 8 mg 12 mg 16 mg • % ventilation: 81 76 58 30 23 20
The Marlboro brand family gets a new addition
Mean level of endorsement of Light Benefit Scale UK ban AUS ban
The other member of the Marlboro family • Menthol flavouring also creates illusions of reduced harmfulness • Menthol vapour blocks irritation receptors and stimulates cold receptors • Why allow that?
Banning flavour additives • There is no public health reason to allow flavour additives • However, apart from menthol and ‘candy’ cigarettes, we don’t really understand the role of most additives • We shouldn’t allow the industry to trade-off ceasing using flavour additives while being able to use engineering to manipulate flavour and harshness • We do know that filter ventilation is being used to manipulate flavour and harshness
The mechanism of the “Lights” fraud • Filter ventilation not only fools smokers – It also fools the ISO testing regime • Heavily vented cigarettes test as very low tar • Yet, within limits, deliver equivalent tar to smokers – Smokers compensate by puffing more and harder – The dilution effect is reduced at higher puff intensities
Conclusions • While steps that have been taken to deal with the ‘low tar’ deception that may have reduced the problem, they have not ended it • The deception is an ongoing cause of harm • Banning filter ventilation is the most direct way to deal with the problem – This would effectively result in banning “lights” – Those that are genuinely low delivery would remain • But few smoke them • There is no reason to allow the current fraud to continue
International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project http: //www. itcproject. org Major Research Support
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