Efforts to Develop a “Safe Cigarette” Timeline
The 1981 Report of the Surgeon General, the Changing Cigarette, ended with the advice that there is no safe cigarette. “The only way to reduce one’s risk from smoking completely was to quit or not to begin smoking.”
When the first scientific studies in the early 1950s linked cigarette smoking with lung cancer, the tobacco industry introduced and widely promoted filtered cigarettes. Cigarette ads at that time blatantly stated that filtered cigarettes were, in fact, safe. Pollay RW
(1989) Filters, flavor . . .flim-flam, too. On “health information” and policy implications in cigarette advertising. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing 8:30–39. Behind the scenes, internal discussions and research were underway to create a safer cigarette.
Marketing efforts were made to keep people smoking rather than quitting. Porous cigarette paper and filter ventilation allowed for claims of low tar and low nicotine cigarettes. By the end of the 1970s, 50% of cigarette brands were classified officially as “low tar” according to the Federal Trade Commission method US Federal Trade Commission. (1999) Federal Trade Commission report to Congress for 1997. Pursuant to the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act. (Federal Trade Commission, Washington DC).
While cigarette makers maintained that cigarettes did not cause disease, they would squash most internal “safe cigarette” efforts for fear of lawsuits. How could cigarette makers tout a “safer” cigarette without implicating its current products?
Later, heat not burn brands were tested and sold with limited success.
1930 - Electric Vaporizer
Inventor, Joseph Robinson, states in his patent: “My invention relates to vaporizing devices for holding medicinal compounds which are electrically or otherwise heated to produce vapors for inhalation, and the general object is to provide a device of this character for individual use which may be freely handled without any possibility of being burned, and which is sanitary and very effective and so simple that anyone can use it.”
1950s – Filters Brands Grow
Responding to the scientific evidence that showed a causal link between smoking and cancer, the tobacco industry responded by introducing more filtered brands to reassure smokers that their cigarettes are safer, and to promote an alternative to quitting. Cigarettes with an attached cellulose acetate filters introduced. Cigarette ads touted the protection of their unique filter without implying the dangers of smoking.
1950s – Scientific Evidence Shows That Smoking Causes Cancer
Biological evidence Studies by Wynder and Graham; Epidemiological studies by Doll and Hill, as well as Hammond and Horn, make some of the first connections between smoking and disease. These widely publicized studies led to the tobacco industry to join forces in the creation of a public relations and “research” regarding smoking and disease.
1950s –Tar Derby
To give smokers a sense of health safety, cigarette makers began working on a “safer cigarette” starting in the 1950s. Referred to as the “tar derby,” cigarette makers marketed filtered cigarettes that would allegedly reduce tar. Filters turned out to be more of a gimmick additive. In 1976, Brown & Williamson’s vice president and general counsel, Ernest Pepples, noted the marked growth of filtered brands. “In most cases, however, the smoker of a filter cigarette was getting as much or more nicotine and tar as he would have gotten from a regular cigarette. He had abandoned the regular cigarette, however, on the ground of reduced risk to health.”
1953 - Create and Maintain a Cigarette Controversy
1958 - Philip Morris Researchers See the Potential of a "Healthy" Cigarette
“Evidence is building up that heavy smoking contributes to lung cancer,” wrote a Philip Morris scientist in July 1958. He then suggested that the company have the “intestinal fortitude to jump to the other side of the fence,” and that the company would have a “wealth of ammunition” to attack competitors who did not have safer cigarettes.
1954 - The formation of the Tobacco Industry Research Committee (TIRC)
In an announcement entitled “A Frank Statement to Cigarette Smokers” The full-page newspaper ad ran in 443 newspapers across the United States. The ad denied the scientific studies that showed a connection between smoking and disease. And claimed that: “We accept an interest in people’s health as a basic responsibility, paramount to every other consideration in our business.”
“We always have and always will co-operate closely with those whose task it is to safeguard the public health.”
“We are pledging aid and assistance to the research effort into all phases of tobacco use and health.”
1967 - Former Surgeon General Luther Terry and Robert Kennedy Speak at the World Conference on Smoking and Health
1970s - Givernment Efforts to Develop a Safer Cigarette
Throughout the 1970s, the National Cancer Institute worked with the cigarette industry to produce a number of experimental cigarette designs which were lower in tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide as measured by the FTC test method. Years later It was found that actual human smoking behavior varies widely as smokers compensate, resulting in wide variations in tar and nicotine exposure. The FCT test, which only provides a single exposure estimate, was not accurate.
1960s - 70s Reduce Machine-Measured Tar and Nicotine
Major design efforts to reduce machine-measured tar and nicotine yields continued throughout the 1960s and 1970s with the introduction of “light” and low-tar cigarettes. Efforts to further reduce machine-measured tar and nicotine yields included the use of porous cigarette paper, reconstituted tobacco, filter tip ventilation, and the use of expanded tobacco (Hoffmann et al. 1996).
1965 - First Tobacco Vaporizer Patent
Herbert A. Gilbert patents the smokeless non tobacco cigarette. The invention was to provide a safe and harmless method of smoking by replacing burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist, flavored air; or by inhaling warm medication into the lungs in case of a respiratory ailment under the direction of a physician.
1966 - BAT Nicotine Delivery Device Patented - Project Ariel
Brown & Williamson and British American Tobacco designed a cigarette that reduced hazardous toxins in tobacco smoke by heating rather than burning the tobacco and flavorings, while still delivering nicotine. Project Ariel was conducted by Batelle Labs in Switzerland. Brown & Williamson and British American Tobacco did not want to be associated as the patent inventor.
1970s - Liggett Project XA
In the 1970s, Liggett Group worked to develop a safe cigarette called the “XA Project.” The project focused on creating a cigarette with additives that would neutralize cancer-causing compounds. Liggett found that by blending palladium with magnesium nitrate, they could achieve a reduction in the development of cancerous tumors of 95-100%. Liggett demonstrated this in mouse skin painting tests—the same type of tests that the tobacco industry had spent years debunking. The skin painting tests related to the XA Project showed that cancerous tumors were virtually eliminated when the catalyst was added to tobacco. While Liggett wished to test PALLADIUM cigarettes in the market, they were concerned that a safer cigarette could involve legal liability for their other products. Following warnings from company lawyers and strong requests, even threats, from other tobacco companies, plans to market the product were abandoned.
1988-present - Low Nicotine Cigarettes
In 1988 Philip Morris launched Next, Merit, and Benson and Hedges Di Nic Cigarettes in 3 test markets. In the 1980s cigarette manufacturers began investigating genetic bio engineering of tobacco plants as a way to control nicotine delivery. SPECTRUM® features cigarettes with eight different levels of nicotine Strictly for research purposes, Spectrum is not a commercially available cigarette. Quest, manufactured by Vector tobacco using genetically altered tobacco plants was available in three versions: Quest 1, Quest 2, and Quest 3. Each version of the product contained a different level of nicotine. 2016, 22nd Century Group Inc., launched MAGIC 0, a very low nicotine cigarette in Europe.
1996 - Marketing Hype or Lifesaver? Heat not burn continues...
1989 - The Return of Heat Not Burn
Old Technology Makes A Comeback Heated products use an electric element (Accord, 1999), or a carbon tipped heating element (Premier and Eclipse) to release the nicotine. Additives such as polypropylene glycol are used to create a visible vapor. It is unclear whether heat not burn products in the market reduces cessation or increase initiation. Premier never achieved popularity, as smokers complained about a charcoal like aftertaste, and it was difficult to light. It was taken off the market in 1989, less than a year after its release.
1998 - Philip Morris Releases Accord
Philip Morris developed Accord, a micro-electric cigarette holder, to “address consumer concerns about health risks,” Unveiled in 1998, the battery-powered “smoking system,” which reduced visible smoke and ashes from the end of a cigarette, was a radically different kind of smoked tobacco product. The device contained a microchip that sensed when an Accord cigarette was being puffed, and sent power to eight heating blades around the cigarette. After eight years of test marketing, Accord was removed from stores in the Richmond, VA area in early 2006, having met with little commercial success.
2003 - Hon Lik and the Modern E-Cigarette
Chinese pharmacist, Hon Lik , seeking to quit smoking after his father’s death from lung cancer, patented a device to vaporize a liquid containing nicotine rather than smoke cigarettes. His goal was to create a mechanism that would deliver nicotine more efficiently than the nicotine patch and create a vapor similar to cigarette smoke. The first e cigarette, that employed piezoelectric technology, was manufactured in China a year after filing the patents. The company Lik worked for, Golden Dragon Holdings, became Runyan (Imperial Tobacco). Runyan marketed e device variations (e cigars, e pipes, and later e-cigarettes) in China and then world-wide. Most Current vaporizers do not employ piezoelectric technology that was first patented by Lik.
2015 - Re-branded Versions of Heat Not Burn On The Rise
2006 - E-Cigarette Vaporizers Grow in Popularity
e-cigarette, or electronic cigarettes, are battery-operated devices modeled basically after regular cigarettes. Initially developed to serve as an alternative to conventional smoking, they are now regulated by the FDA. Research into their safety and flavorings is ongoing.
2015 - JUUL Labs patents nicotine salt formula
JUUL Labs, Inc., maker of the JUUL e-cigarette uses nicotine salts instead of free based nicotine liquids that’s used in most other e liquid. Released in 2017, with a unique design and high nicotine liquid “Pods,” JUUL was engineered for the naive novice user and became the most popular e-cigarette on the market, attracting youth to its brand as well as a $12 billion investment by Philip Morris. Facing criticism of marketing to youth, JUUL discontinued its popular mango flavored Pods and directed some of its advertising to appeal to smokers seeking to quit cigarette use.
(1989) Filters, flavor . . .flim-flam, too. On “health information” and policy implications in cigarette advertising. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing 8:30–39.
|↑2||US Federal Trade Commission. (1999) Federal Trade Commission report to Congress for 1997. Pursuant to the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act. (Federal Trade Commission, Washington DC|