BETHESDA, MdThe National Cancer Institute is urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to replace its current cigarette testing protocol with one that provides the full range of tar, nicotine(Drug information on nicotine) and carbon monoxide yields in individual cigarette brands.
The NCI's newest monograph in its series on Smoking and Tobacco Control contains the findings and recommendations of an expert committee that addressed the need for changes in the FTC's cigarette-testing method. The committee also recommended the following:
A public education campaign must accompany the new testing approach to make smokers aware that an individual's exposure depends on how a cigarette is smoked and that the benefits of switching to lower-yield cigarettes are small compared to quitting.
- A simple, graphic representation of tar, nicotine,
and carbon monoxide levels should appear on each pack sold and in all advertisements.
- Other constituents in cigarettes should be listed
on each pack and in all advertising, with each constituent classified
by its toxic effects.
- Terms such as "light" and "ultra
light" represent health claims and should be regulated by the
- Cigarette testing information should be available
to the public, since it is useless unless smokers have access to it.
- Questions about the purpose, methodology, and utility of the FTC's testing protocol are complex medical and scientific issues, and require the on-going involvement of federal health agencies.
Single copies of the monograph, "The FTC Cigarette Test Method for Determining Tar, Nicotine, and Carbon Monoxide Yields of US CigarettesReport of the NCI Expert Committee," are available from NCI at 1-800-422-6237.