When legalization advocates point to alcohol and tobacco, this kind of thing comes to mind.
A report published last week in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research found that while the nicotine content of cigarettes has remained relatively stable for more than a decade, the amount of that nicotine delivered to the machines researchers use as surrogates for smokers has been rising. The researchers, from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, analyzed data from four manufacturers as required by state law. The findings varied among the companies and brands, but the overall trend led the researchers to conclude that changes in cigarette design have increased the efficiency of delivering nicotine to a smoker’s lungs. Young people who experiment with smoking may thus become addicted more easily and existing smokers may find it harder to quit.
Those provocative findings will need to be verified by other experts but are consistent with the surgeon general’s report. That report, issued on Jan. 17, found that some of today’s cigarettes are more addictive than those from earlier decades, based on the findings of a Federal District Court judge in 2006 who had access to industry documents spelling out how cigarettes were designed to make them more addictive. The industry’s tactics included designing filters and selecting cigarette paper to maximize the ingestion of nicotine and adding chemicals to make cigarettes taste less harsh and easier to inhale deeply.