You may have heard one of many news reports yesterday about increased nicotine content of cigarettes. The data that these news stories used came from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health where a 1996 state law requires cigarette makers to test the nicotine content of their products and report the results annually.
Less well reported was this tidbit about the U.S. Federal Trade Commission:
The Federal Trade Commission for three decades regularly released reports on the nicotine and tar content of cigarettes — reports that frequently came under criticism for failing to adequately reflect the amount of nicotine smokers inhale in actual use.
The reports showed that nicotine levels on average had remained stable since 1980, after falling in the preceding decade. The last of those studies was released in September 1999, commission spokeswoman Claudia B. Farrell said yesterday.
The Federal Trade Commission has continued collecting data on nicotine, but she did not know why they have not published reports on the findings.
— Cigarettes Pack More Nicotine, by Stephen Smith Boston Globe, August 30, 2006
The Los Angles Times reports that, “Massachusetts is one of three states to require tobacco companies to submit information about nicotine testing according to its specifications, and the only state with data going back to 1998.” Cigarettes Packing More Nicotine, Report Shows, (From the Associated Press) August 31, 2006.