Among the most dangerious substances in cigarette smoke are carcinogens called nitrosamines. There are six patented processes for reducing or eliminating these chemicals from cigarette smoke.
A major American tobacco company's 1991 handbook on leaf blending and product development shows that ammonia from such sources as diammonium phosphate (DAP), ammonium hydroxide, and urea can be used in cigarette manufacturing to increase the amount of nicotine delivered to the smoker. Ammonia, when added to a tobacco blend, reacts with the indigenous nicotine salts and liberates free nicotine. As a result, the ratio of extractable nicotine to bound nicotine in the smoke may be altered in favor of extractable nicotine.
In June 1998, the health minister of British Columbia announced new regulations requiring tobacco companies to disclose all ingredients and additives. The Act became effective September 15, 1998. By October 31, 1998, the regulations require tobacco companies to report the amounts of 44 particular compounds inherent in tobacco smoke.
In 1999, the European Commission proposed that the maximum tar level would fall from 12 mg to 10 mg per cigarette by 31 December 2003 at the latest. EU countries would also introduce a ceiling of 1 mg of nicotine and a maximum of 10 mg of carbon monoxide per cigarette by the same date. The draft directive would also require cigarette manufacturers to notify smokers of the presence of ingredients other than tobacco, including additives.
(2) The European Union should require tobacco companies to measure and disclose all the hazardous constituents of tobacco smoke and then reduce them. In almost every other consumer product, regulators require safety and quality standards--tobacco products should be no exception.
(2) Tobacco manufacturers claim that reducing nicotine content in cigarettes might create alternative health risks from the substituted ingredients.