RICHMOND, Va. -- The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) recently released a report, Change in Nicotine Yields 1998-2004. In the report and the related press release, MDPH concluded, among other things, that "Marlboro...delivered significantly more nicotine." Also, "The study found that, regardless of brand, the amount of nicotine that is actually delivered to the smoker's lungs has increased significantly over the past six years."
After reviewing the report, Philip Morris USA said it does not believe that the MDPH's conclusions about the [image-nocss] trends in nicotine yields for Marlboro are supported by the 1997 to 2005 data that PM USA provided to the MDPH.
In addition, the analysis in the report did not include relevant information from 1997 and 2005 that was reported by PM USA to the MDPH, the company said. And the nicotine yields for the Marlboro brand do not show a general trend, either up or down, when all the information PM USA reported to the MDPH is considered, it added.
The MDPH's conclusions, PM USA said, are based on machine smoking test methods. Many public health authorities agree that machine test methods are not an accurate way to determine what is "actually delivered to the smoker's lungs, said the company.
Richmond, Va.-based PM USA said it remains committed to comprehensive, meaningful and effective Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of tobacco products.
Since 1997, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has required cigarette companies, including [PM USA], to report nicotine yield numbers using a method different from the Federal Trade Commission [FTC] method, the company said. We have submitted these reports at the end of each year, for the years 1997 through 2005; however, the MDPH report did not include the 1997 and 2005 data. PM USA's full reports of nicotine yields provided to the MDPH from 1997 through 2005 are posted in their entirety on our company website in the Product Facts section of the website.
PM USA analysis of the nicotine yield data on Marlboro for 1997 through 2005 indicates that there are variations in the nicotine yield for different Marlboro packings, both up and down from year-to-year, but there is no general trend up or down, said the company.
The company has created a chart that provides two lines for averaged nicotine yield of Marlboro cigarettes. The top line shows the simple linear average nicotine yields for the full nine years that it reported data to the MDPH calculated for the 18 Marlboro packings reported every year (1997-2005). The bottom line shows the 1997-2005 nicotine yields for the Marlboro brand family based on a sales weighted average, which most closely parallels U.S. purchases. The sales weighted average line shows the average nicotine yield for the Marlboro brand went from 1.85 in 1997 to 1.76 milligrams per cigarette in 2005, a 0.09 milligram decrease. The simple linear average line shows that the average nicotine yield for the Marlboro brand went from 1.86 in 1997 to 1.90 milligrams per cigarette in 2005, a 0.04 milligram increase.
When the data from the entire period from 1997-2005 are considered, using either a simple linear average calculation or a more relevant sales weighted average calculation, annual variations are seen to be up or down each year, but not a general trend up or down, PU USA said. These year-to-year variations in nicotine occur as part of the normal processes of growing tobacco and manufacturing cigarettes, it said.
To further illustrate the lack of any general trend change for the Marlboro brand family, PM USA pointed out that of the 18 Marlboro brand packings tested in both 1997 and in 2005, the nicotine yields of three are lower, eight are higher and seven are the same.
Another chart that provides the nicotine yield of the two best-selling Marlboro brand packings. Marlboro King Size Box and Marlboro Lights King Size Box account for about half of Marlboro brand sales. Each of these packings had a change from 1997 to 2005 of 0.03 milligrams, said the companyone an increase and one a decrease.
The MDPH report links the nicotine measured by a smoking machine to nicotine "actually delivered to the smoker's lungs". Other public health authorities have said one should not link machine smoking to actual human smoking. For example, the World Health Organization Study Group on Tobacco Regulation concluded that "machine testing protocols are not likely to provide a valid basis for predicting health effects or for making claims about health effects because such protocols do not predict how the products will be used by individuals or at the population level," according to PM USA.
The company added that MDPH itself states on its website that "because of the difference in individual smoking patterns, no number is truly representative of the amount of nicotine any smoker will receive from a cigarette."
Members help make our journalism possible. Become a CSP member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.