Cigarettes with defective filters marketed for 40 years: what Philip Morris never told smokersby J L Pauly, A B Mepani, J D Lesses, K M Cummings and R J Streck
More than 90% of the cigarettes sold worldwide have a filter. Nearly all filters consist of a rod of numerous ( > 12 000) plastic-like cellulose acetate fibres. During high speed cigarette manufacturing procedures, fragments of cellulose acetate that form the mouthpiece of a filter rod become separated from the filter at the end face. In smoking a cigarette, some of these fragments are released during puffing. In addition to the cellulose acetate fragments, carbon particles are released also from some cigarette brands that have a charcoal filter. Cigarettes with filters that release cellulose acetate or carbon particles during normal smoking conditions are defective. Objective: Specific goals were to review systematically the writings of tobacco companies to: (a) identify papers that would document the existence of defective filters; (b) characterise the extent of the defect; (c) establish when the defect became known; (d) determine whether the defect exists on cigarettes marketed currently; (e) assess the prevalence of the defect on cigarettes manufactured by different companies; (f) define whether the knowledge of the defect had been withheld by the tobacco company as confidential and not disclosed publicly; and (g) ascertain the feasibility of correcting or preventing the defect.