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FTC rescinds its 1966 Guidance: the Cambridge Filter Method on cigarette tar/nicotine yields

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) FYI news of Nov 26,2008: FTC has rescinded guidance issued in 1966 (1). Advertisers who include statements of tar and nicotine yields as measured by the Cambridge Filter method must ensure that such claims comport with the FTC Act; in addition advertisers should no longer use the phrase 'by FTC method' or other terms or phrases that state or imply that the Commission's approval or endorsement of the Cambridge Filter Method, or yields derived from that method or other machine-based test methods.

The Cambridge Filter Method is a machine-based test method that 'smokes' cigarettes according to a standard protocol. The testing was intended to produce uniform, standardized data about the tar and nicotine yields of mainstream cigarette smoke, not to replicate actual human smoking...
At the time, most public health officials believed that reducing the amount of 'tar' produced by a cigarette could reduce a smoker's risk of lung cancer. The purpose of providing the data was to inform consumers about brands that would confer less risk of toabcco-related harm. Concerns about the machine based test became a substantially greater issue in the 1990's because of changes in modern cigarette design and due to a better understanding of the nature and effects of compensatory smoking behavior.(2)
The Commission vote to rescind the guidance was 4-0, with Commissioners Pamela Jones Harbour and Jon Leibowitz issuing separate concurring statements. Commissioner Harbour wrote, "Now that the FTC has removed its apparent imprimatur from the testing method, I urge... the next Congress to reintroduce S. 625, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act." (related bill H.R.1108)
This bill, sponsored by Sen. Kennedy and introduced 2/15/07, would protect public health by providing the FDA with certain authority to regulate tobacco products, through disclosure, annual registration, inspection , recordkeeping and user fee requirements among other provisions.
From Robert M. Julien's book, "A Primer of Drug Action":
...together with caffeine and ethyl alcohol, nicotine is one of the 3 most widely used psychoactive drugs in our society, despite the fact that nicotine has few or no therapeutic applications in medicine....
[n]icotine is the primary active ingredient in tobacco... is only 1 in about 4000 compounds released by the burning of cigarette tobacco. Nicotine accounts only for the acute pharmacological effects of smoking and for the dependence on cigarettes. The adverse, long-term cardiovascular, pulmonary, and carcinogenic effects of cigarettes are related to other compounds contained in the product. While nicotine itself may have some adverse effects, its delivery device (the tobacco cigarette) is responsible for much of its toxicity.
( "A Primer of Drug Action, 9th edition, by Robert M. Julien, MD, PH.D. of St Vincent Hospital and Medical Center in Portland Oregon, Worth Publishers 2001 pp 228-229)

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