Cigarettes are more dangerous than ever due to a wealth of tactics adopted by tobacco companies over the last 50 years, a charity has warned.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has produced a revealing infographic which lays out exactly how cigarettes have changed in the last five decades.
Doctors at the charity say that cigarettes today pose an even greater risk of disease than those sold in 1964 when the first warning about the health dangers came from the Surgeon General in the U.S.
The charity’s research is based on a review of scientific studies and tobacco industry documents, as well as the Surgeon General’s report.
It found that today’s smokers have a much higher risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than in 1964 – despite smoking fewer cigarettes.
This is due to ‘changes in the design and composition of cigarettes’.
The charity claims that over the past 50 years, tobacco manufacturers have designed and marketed ever more sophisticated products that are ‘effective in creating and sustaining addiction to nicotine,’ more appealing to new young smokers and much more harmful.
‘They took a deadly and addictive product and made it worse, putting smokers at even greater risk of addiction, disease and death,’ the report, Designed for Addiction, says.
The addictiveness of cigarettes has also been increased by raising nicotine levels.
The report claims that manufacturers also add ammonia, which increases the speed which nicotine is delivered to the brain .
Another tactic is to add sugars, which increase the addictive effects of nicotine and make it easier to inhale tobacco smoke.
Cigarettes today deliver nicotine more quickly from the lungs to the heart and brain.
And by altering the taste and smell of cigarettes, tobacco manufacturers have made it easier for people to start and continue smoking.
They have also made tobacco smoke less harsh by adding levulinic acid. This makes the smoke feel smoother and less irritating.
The report states: ‘[It is] clear that tobacco products – and cigarettes in particular
– are highly engineered to expand the appeal of these products and facilitate
the consumption of and addiction to nicotine, a highly addictive drug.
‘Tobacco companies also know that almost all new smokers begin their addiction as
children and that smoking is distasteful for new smokers, so they carefully
design the product to appeal to this important market.
‘The companies have spent huge sums to research the design of their products and ensure they
achieve these goals, even if the impact of these changes also makes the product more dangerous.’