The French CNCT (national anti-smoking committee) has just filed suit against 4 heavy-hitters in global cigarette manufacturing for endangering the lives of users. The concerned companies are Philip Morris, BAT, JTI and Imperial Brands. The reasoning behind this decision is alleged tar and nicotine rates in cigarettes. CNCT is accusing Big Tobacco of deliberately falsifying test data.
If you look closely at a single cigarette, you will notice the air holes that ring the filter. Present on 97% of cigarettes, it seems these vents have a hidden objective. According to the CNCT, they serve to trick testing equipment by watering down smoke with clean air, resulting in lower tar and nicotine levels. In tests covering these holes, a cigarette was found to contain from two to ten times the indicated amount of tar.
Right under our noses
The “trick” in this case has to do with the position of these vents. These holes are in fact positioned exactly where a smoker would cover them with their fingers. In this manner, smokers unwittingly cover the vents and as a result inhale a great deal more smoke compared to levels measured in testing.
Unfortunately, this new information is a little late to the party. First of all, because these vents have existed for years. But also given the fact that tar and nicotine levels are no longer indicated on cigarette packaging.
The CNCT also indicated that similar suits are being filed abroad:
“This deliberate deception of public authorities and consumers, placing them at significant risk, means that a smoker today who thinks they are smoking a pack a day, are in fact smoking 2 to 10. All tobacco manufacturers are concerned. Similar legal proceedings are in progress in other countries, possibly involving smoking-related disease patient associations.”
An ironic turn of events… After Philip Morris recently announced they were pulling out of the tobacco market—which many found hard to believe—it seems a new scandal was waiting for them just around the corner.