Discusses various ingredients mixed with tobacco in the manufacture of cigarettes. Reports that most tobacco ingredients are flavorings, many of which are found in food products. Explains the other ingredients are processing aids, casing materials, "humectants which keep tobacco in cigarettes moist and preservatives extend the shelf life of the product." States that the 1984 Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act which requires disclosure of cigarette ingredients to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), protects ingredient information as confidential, i.e. trade secret information. Reports that "Most of the ingredients on the list can be found on the Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) list maintained by the
Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association." Contains margin notes.
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Various ingredients have been used in the production and
manufacturing of cigarettes since the product was first
mass-produced in the United States more than c-~0 years
Most of these ingredients, such as menthol, are used as
flavorings. Flavorings refine the taste and enhance the
smoking qualities of cigarettes to meet consumer
preferences. They also give individual brands of cigarettes
their distinctive flavors and aromas.
Most flavoring ingredients come from mixtures purchased from
leading flavor suppliers who also service~h~ food industry
The entire cigarette industry, which produces approximately
584 billion cigarettes annually, uses less than I0 pounds
per ingredient each year.
Other ingredients are used as casing materials, humectants
and preservatives. Casing materials help to smooth the
taste of cigarettes, humectants keep tobacco in cigarettes
moist and preservatives extend the shelf life of the
product. None of these ingredients are unique to cigarettes.
They can be found in hundreds of food products and in a
variety of other widely used consumer goods such as
toothpaste and mouthwash.
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In addition, other substances are used in cigarette
manufacturing solely to increase tobacco processing
efficiency and yield, particularly during the initial
manufacturing stages. These processing aids do not appear
in the final product except in minute and often undetectable
amounts. Most processing aids have been used for decades.
Prior to the passage of the Federal Cigarette Labeling Act
of 1984, the tobacco industry voluntarily cooperated with
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on
the question of ingredients. Under an agreement reached in
1982, the manufacturers made available to HHS a list of
commonly-used ingredients that were added to tobacco during
the production of cigarettes. The industry agreed to
consult with HHS as it addressed any questions about
The Federal Cigarette Labeling Act of 1984 required U.S.
companies that manufacture or package cigarettes, or import
them into the United States, to submit to the Department of
Health and Human Services the names of all ingredients added
to tobacco during the production of cigarettes.
In order to protect competitive trade secrets, the Act
allows companies to designate a third party to compile and
submit a list that combines the ingredients used by several
companies. In accordance with this provision, Covington &
Burling, a Washington, D.C. law firm, annually prepares and
submits a joint list of ingredients on behalf of the
American Tobacco Company, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.,
Liggett Group Inc., Lorillard, Inc., Philip Morris Inc., and
R.J. Reynolds Company.
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The composite list contains approximately 600 ingredients.
However, only a miniscule fraction of these ingredients are
used in each individual brand of cigarettes.
Approved For Use
Most of the ingredients on the list can be found on the
Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) list maintained by the
Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association. Most of the
ingredients found on the GRAS list, and others on the list
submitted by cigarette manufacturers to HHS, have also been
approved for use in cigarettes under guidelines issued by
the Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health,
an organization that advises the Department of Health and
Social Security of Great Britain. These ingredients have
also been approved for use by health agencies in West
The list of ingredients submitted to HHS is highly
confidential for the same reason that other formulas, such
as Coca-Cola's famous Formula X, have never been devulged on
labels or elsewhere. The blends and ingredients of
individual cigarette brands represent extremely important
and proprietary trade secrets. The list does not even
identify which tobacco companies use which ingredients.
Acknowledging the importance of trade secrets, Congress did
not require further disclosure under the Federal Cigarette
Labeling and Advertising Act. In fact, the Act directed HHS
to establish procedures to protect the confidentiality of
the ingredients list.