Boston, Aug. 31 (AP): The level of nicotine that smokers typically consume per cigarette has risen 10 per cent in the past six years, making it harder to quit and easier to be addicted, according to a report released by the Massachusetts Department of Health on Tuesday.
The study shows a steady increase in the amount of nicotine delivered to the smokers’ lungs regardless of brand, with overall yields increasing by 10 per cent.
Massachusetts is one of three US states that require tobacco companies to submit information on nicotine testing to its specifications and is the sole state with data as far back as 1998.
The study found that the three most popular brands with young smokers, Marlboro, Newport and Camel, delivered significantly more nicotine than they did six years ago. Nicotine consumed in Kool, a popular menthol brand, rose 20 per cent.
Jennifer Golisch, a spokeswoman for Phillip Morris USA, the largest cigarette maker and manufacturer of Marlboros, declined to comment. Reynolds American, manufacturer of Kools and Camels, also declined.
The study has always measured nicotine levels based on the way smokers use cigarettes, health officials said. That includes partly covering ventilation holes while smoking and taking longer puffs. Traditional testing does not take habits into account and typically reports lower nicotine contents, researchers said.
“The amount of nicotine in a cigarette has increased steadily over the past six years,” the department said, indicating in its reports that the smoking habits simulated had not changed in that period. Of the 179 brands tested in 2004, 93 per cent fell into the highest range for nicotine. In 1998, 84 per cent of 116 brands were in the highest range.
“We want health care providers to know that smokers are getting more nicotine than in the past and may need additional help in trying to quit,” the public health commissioner, Paul Cote Jr., said.
The report said that for all brands tested in 1998 and 2004 there was no significant difference in the total nicotine delivered among full flavour, medium, light or ultralight cigarettes.