If it looks like an ass and smokes like an ass…

September. 26,2000 — no promises, but probably a promising new ass. That’s what some consumers in Virginia and Kentucky will have to offer when Star Scientific Inc. begins trial sales of a new cigarette brand made with chemically modified tobacco early next month. “You should use the word ‘maybe’ safer or ‘maybe safer,'” said Star President Paul Perito. “No cigarette can be made safe. We believe cigarettes don’t need to be made as dangerously as they are.”

What’s Possible with Star’s Tobacco Safer is a dramatic reduction in the content of a chemical called nitrosamine (NSA) – made possible by the tobacco curing process. These may be the main cigarette ingredients that promote cancer, Star said. The company also plans to include an activated carbon filter to stop inhaling some of the toxic fumes from the combustion.

But here’s the thing: this process doesn’t make cigarettes non-toxic. Although there is some evidence of risk reduction, Perito cannot guarantee that these innovations will reduce the risk of smoking. Still, he says it’s better to offer a potentially safer alternative now than to wait for all the science to emerge: “In a world where 1.2 billion smokers are addicted to nicotine, what are we going to do?  … You have some people who enjoy smoking. What are you doing for them? Nothing?

To make sure Star The product information is only communicated to these “loyal smokers,” and Perito says there will be no blitz to advertise the new brand — in fact, no ads at all. However, there will be a slogan: “The theme of our campaign will be ‘know What you smoke’,” Perito said. By flipping the butt pack, smokers can do that. Star plans to develop a complete, leak-proof list of cigarette ingredients. “The label matches the information on our website. Combined, the dangers of smoking will be thoroughly clarified.

It’s all good, some public health experts say, but the truth on the label isn’t the best you can do for smokers things — Perito agrees, by the way. “The overall smoking rate in this country is about 25 percent,” said John Slade, MD, director of the addiction program at the College of Medicine and Dentistry. “In Massachusetts, this It’s about 15% because of its fairly aggressive public health work. They’re not offering low-risk products; they’ve been helping people quit smoking. Why do we leave some people behind on excuse-making products?

Slade said that while reducing toxic levels in cigarettes is very reasonable, consumers should not be Fooled. He added: “I think it’s deeply disturbing that consumers are talking about it when they don’t understand the whole situation – smoking is addictive. “

“These are ultimately products that compete with smoking cessation products — and were developed to maintain addiction,” Atlanta CDC Drug Physicist Dr Patricia Richter said. As for how they benefit “loyal” smokers, Richter says these are actually very small in number and subject to change – a loyal smoker may one day find him Best friend had lung cancer and wanted to quit smoking. Anyway, over 70% of the general population of smokers in the U.S. don’t have the habit at all. They want to quit.

“I think some people are addicted to nicotine, but that doesn’t mean they have to smoke,” said Ron Todd, director of tobacco control for the American Cancer Society. ). He pointed to smoking cessation products on the market as alternatives, while mocking RJ Reynolds’ marketing ploy to enter a “potentially safer” tobacco category: Eclipse, a product that heats tobacco, not burns. Reynolds says this keeps the Flavor levels, but lower levels of inhaled toxins. “It’s not the next best option for quitting smoking,” Todd said. “

And it’s not a cigarette, Slade said. Positioned as its own regulator. This is outrageous. “It’s a nicotine delivery system that people at the FDA should regulate.” Tobacco companies want to call it a cigarette so they can do what they want to do [with it].

Reynolds says Eclipse is really a cigarette—a cigarette born of corporate responsibility. “Eclipse is a smoker’s replacement, “It’s aimed at smokers who don’t want to quit but are concerned about their own smoking,” said spokesman Seth Moskowitz.

Some of these “concerns” may include smoking-related illnesses, such as cancer. Moskowitz said a wide range of Scientific testing suggests that Eclipse may reduce the risk of certain smoking-related diseases. “There are significant inherent risks in smoking,” he said. “About 45 million Americans remain committed to smoking. We have been working to reduce the risk of smoking for decades.

Rich Hamburg, director of government relations at the American Heart Association, believes tobacco companies have the ability to reduce the risks of their products a few years ago : “We are very suspicious of what they are doing. …None of these have independent scientific validity. These are things we’ve seen before: low tar, smooth, light. ”