U.S. cigarettes have 10% more nicotine today than six years ago

BOSTON (2 September 2006) RHC -- IN THE United States, all tobacco brands have been increasing the nicotine dosage in each cigarette steadily during the last six years, according to a report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The report says that the overall increase has been about 10 per cent during 1998-2004. Experts say that the higher the nicotine dose, the more hooked you get -- making it much more difficult to kick the habit.

An article in the journal "Medical News Today" says that the only conclusion one could come to is that the tobacco industry has taken steps to secure sales by making people more addicted.

The Boston Globe says that Massachusetts is the only U.S. state with information on the nicotine content of cigarettes since 1998. It is also one of only three states that makes it compulsory for cigarette companies to submit data about nicotine.

The medical report shows that Marlboro, the most popular brand in the United States, has been steadily raising the dosage in each cigarette. Kool, a popular menthol brand, has had its nicotine dose increased by 20 per cent in the past six years.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health says that the three most popular brands chosen by young smokers -- Marlboro, Newport and Camel -- all delivered significantly more nicotine"

The report points out that this is bad news for smokers who are trying to quit -- to find out they are hooked to much higher levels of daily nicotine. The health department suggests that legislation should be passed, making the industry reduce nicotine levels by six percent every five years, until cigarettes eventually have no nicotine in them at all. Health experts say that this way, smokers would gradually become less addicted.

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