FTC Wants New Cigarette Tests

Oncology NEWS International Vol 6 No 10, Volume 6, Issue 10

WASHINGTON-The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is proposing a new set of measurements to gauge the tar and nicotine yields of cigarettes.

WASHINGTON—The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is proposing a new set of measurements to gauge the tar and nicotine yields of cigarettes.

The new testing method is designed to complement the existing tar and nicotine numbers disclosed in cigarette advertising by yielding data reflecting more intensive smoking behavior. The tests would produce a range of potential yields for each cigarette rather than the single number produced by the existing method, the FTC said.

“We now know that the way a person smokes affects the amount of tar and nicotine they get. The present system doesn’t reflect this,” said Jodie Bernstein, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. Ms. Bernstein also emphasized that the FTC wants consumers to know “that there is no such thing as a safe cigarette.”

Health Group Attack Winston Campaign

WASHINGTON—The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and American Lung Association have filed a petition with the FTC (see article) urging the agency to investigate the implied health claims made by R. J. Reynolds in its campaign touting the new “no additive” Winston cigarettes.

“The ad campaign implies not only that a Winston cigarette is healthier, but that consumers will face reduced risks when smoking no-additive Winston cigarettes. We’d like to know how Reynolds can say this so boldly,” said John R. Seffrin, American Cancer Society CEO.

Said Dudley Hafner, CEO of the American Heart Association: “Removing the additives from cigarettes does not remove the nicotine, the tars, or any of the other constituents of tobacco. With or without additives, Winstons can hurt you.”


The existing FTC testing program began in 1967 to provide smokers with a guide to choosing cigarettes with lower tar and nicotine. But research now available indicates that many smokers compensate for the lower levels of tar and nicotine by taking larger and more frequent puffs.

The commission expressed concern that many smokers believe the tar and nicotine levels now disclosed measure what the individual consumer actually gets from a cigarette.

The new two-tier testing system would retain the existing parameters of a 2-second, 35-mL puff every minute, which reflects less intensive smoking, and add a second set of parameters of a 2-second, 55-mL puff every 30 seconds, to reflect more intensive smoking behavior.

New Warnings Proposed

The FTC also seeks comment on a proposal to add two new warnings to cigarette advertising. These warnings would say: “There is no such thing as a safe smoke. Even cigarettes with low ratings can give you high amounts of tar and nicotine. It depends on how you smoke.” Or, “How much tar and nicotine you get from a cigarette depends on how intensely you smoke it.”