Citizens for Clean Air and Clean Lungs

RJ Reynolds Reports Their Cigarettes Contain Poisons

State of Minnesota health officials made public on February 16, 1999 reports from RJ Reynolds showing that their cigarettes contain poisons. The list of deadly compounds include arsenic, cadmium, ammonia, lead and formaldehyde. Public health experts have sounded alarms for years because cigarettes contain over 4,000 different chemicals and substances. Unfortunately the public is insufficiently informed about the toxicity and hazards to health of many of these ingredients.

A 1997 law requires cigarette manufacturers to disclose the presence of these ingredients in their products to the state health department. Only RJR met the deadline for disclosing the information.

Philip Morris spokesperson Brendan McCormick said the company provided the data by the deadline and that the state health department has the information. The information revealed that RJR's Camel and Winston brands contained all five ingredients.

Although Winstons are advertised as "no-additive" cigarettes, Nat Walker, a spokesperson for RJR, said this is not contradictory. "These compounds are naturally occurring in tobacco as well as in tobacco smoke. These compounds are in many things that grow."

Health officials as well as policy makers across the nation must determine the most effective ways to get this news to the public -- particularly teens. Judy Knapp, executive director of the Coalition for a Smoke-Free 2000, urges that the information be given to the public immediately. "The public has to understand that when they're smoking a cigarette... they're not just smoking nicotine."

Source(s): (Minneapolis) STAR TRIBUNE (on-line), (2/17/99) "Cigarette Ingredients: Manufacturers Acknowledge Use Of Poisons", Rochelle Olson


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