The Federal Trade Commission made public today the results of "tar," nicotine and carbon monoxide testing for 1,294 varieties of domestic cigarettes sold in 1998. The report, titled "Tar, Nicotine, and Carbon Monoxide of the Smoke of 1,294 Varieties of Domestic Cigarettes For the Year 1998" (the T&N Report), will appear in the Federal Register shortly. The Commission has reported "tar" and nicotine test results since 1967.
The Tobacco Institute Testing Laboratory (TITL), which has since been renamed the Tobacco Industry Testing Laboratory, conducted most of the tests. The T&N Report also includes "tar," nicotine, and carbon monoxide ratings for generic and private label cigarettes and cigarettes that are not widely available; these varieties were tested by their manufacturers (not by TITL) using the same methodology, processes and test procedures as TITL used. In all cases, the results were supplied to the Commission by the individual companies under compulsory process.
The ratings published in the report reflect the relative yields of different cigarettes when they are smoked by a machine under identical conditions. They are not intended to reflect what any individual consumer would get from any particular cigarette. Research indicates that many smokers of cigarettes with lower ratings "compensate" by taking larger puffs or more frequent puffs from those cigarettes. A smoker can also "compensate" by blocking tiny ventilation holes in cigarette filters that are designed to dilute smoke with air. Compensatory smoking behavior can significantly affect the amount of "tar," nicotine, and carbon monoxide a smoker gets from any cigarette -- smokers of cigarette brands with lower "tar" and nicotine ratings may get as much "tar" and nicotine as smokers of much higher rated brands.
Given the limitations of the current system, the FTC requested that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) conduct a complete review of the FTC's cigarette testing methodology. That review is currently underway. In addition, in its two most recent cigarette reports, the Commission recommended that Congress consider giving authority over cigarette testing to one of the Federal government's science-based public health agencies.
Copies of the news release, the "Federal Trade Commission Report of the Tar, Nicotine, and Carbon Monoxide of the Smoke of 1,294 Varieties of Domestic Cigarettes for the Year 1998" are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
(FTC File No. 992 3169)