New research suggests tobacco companies are sweetening cigarettes, which could make them more attractive to young people.
Additives included plum juice, maple syrup and honey to make products taste better. These ingredients were apparently identified from tobacco company websites.
A British newspaper, The Independent, reported findings of the study that examined sweet additives in tobacco. Results were published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.
The newspaper quoted researchers saying: “The addition of sugars in tobacco can enhance tobacco use in at least two ways — naturalisation of the harsh taste of cigarette smoke and generation of acetaldehyde, which increases the addictive effect of nicotine.”
It went on: “Moreover, the sweet taste and the agreeable smell of caramelised sugar flavours are appreciated in particular by starting adolescent smokers.”
Mike Daube, president of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, called on tobacco companies to reveal all their ingredients.
“We would like legislation at a Federal level that forces them to reveal everything that goes into cigarettes,” he said. “If we don’t know what goes into cigarettes we don’t know how harmful they are going to be in combination with other components.”
The newspaper quoted a cigarette executive’s denials that sugar additives encouraged young people to smoke.
He said that cigarettes sold in Britain typically did not have sugar.
Cigarettes sweetened to lure young smokers