British American Tobacco (BAT) has been conducting trials on new cigarettes that would be laced with flavors like chocolate, wine, sherry, tea, cocoa, cherry juice, corn syrup, vanilla, and maple syrup, the Independent reported June 3.
The anti-smoking lobbying group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has blasted BAT for developing cigarettes ASH says are aimed at encouraging children to smoke.
“Adding sweets to tobacco is appalling. It shows that we need more tobacco regulation to prevent anything being added that could make tobacco more attractive, or smoother, or easier to use,” said Deborah Arnott, director of ASH. “These are the sort of ingredients that could make cigarettes more attractive to children. Why would they want to test these sort of additives?”
Frank Dobson, a former health secretary in Britain, added, “We all know that hardly anyone takes up smoking when they are grown up. That is why the tobacco industry wants to target children. In this country, they kill 120,000 of their customers each year and they have to recruit 120,000 to make up for it.”
A BAT spokesman said the flavor trials were conducted to determine if cigarettes with added ingredients had different effects on health compared with cigarettes without additives. The study was conducted in Canada on laboratory rats.
The spokesman said chocolate and tea were tested because they were currently used or could be used in the future. “I don’t want to say tea never; chocolate, never. It is there for a reason. It is not something that is common,” the spokesman said. “Anybody who might attempt to claim that they are added to appeal to youth are barking mad because cigarettes taste like cigarettes.”
BAT said the study found no “discernible” difference between the effects of tobacco smoke with or without additives on the health of rats.