Tobacco Companies Required To Report Levels Of Dozens Of Chemicals

The Food & Drug Administration says there are more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco and tobacco smoke. And now the FDA says consumers have a right to know about the levels of 93 harmful or potentially harmful chemicals that are in the products they smoke and/or chew.

But since tobacco companies may not be set up to test for all of these 93 chemicals — see full list, along with reasons they are considered yucky, here — the FDA is focusing on getting immediate results for 20 chemicals with recognizable names like ammonia, arsenic, cadmium, and formaldehyde (see the lists of these chemicals here).

“Today’s actions represent critical steps forward on providing Americans with the facts about the dangers of tobacco use and to stop children from smoking,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The FDA says it intends to make information about these chemicals available in “consumer-friendly” form by April 2013.


Edit Your Comment

  1. TuxthePenguin says:

    Know what would be a consumer-friendly form? Have a chart with each of these ingredients. The first data column would be what an “unsafe” level of that ingredient would be. Then the second column would be how many cigs it would take to get to that level. That would make it perfectly clear.

  2. Patriot says:

    If you’re gonna smoke, switch to the e-cigs. Preferably, don’t smoke, especially if you have children.

  3. p. observer says:

    So whatever happened to just selling yaknow… tobacco

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Plain tobacco is so 1800’s. Try the cool, refreshing taste of our new
      enhanced tobacco. You’ll like it so much, you will have trouble putting it down.

  4. Hi_Hello says:

    I thoought tabocco was just tobacco. All natural product :D

  5. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    Wheee. Are they pretty much proposing that each smoker should have a copy of the Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) of each chemical that is in cigarettes?

    For 7,000 chemicals, that would be a huge stack.

    • borgia says:

      I love reading MSDS. It is a pain sometimes to get usefull information of relative risk from them. I mean, sand is noted as a mechanical irritant and a carcinogen. The substance may be toxic to lungs, upper respiratory tract. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can
      produce target organs damage. This can make it hard to qualify exposure risk.

    • borgia says:

      Just for fun, Imagine if you had to write an MSDS for eposure to the comments section for articles.
      -exposure may cause increased blood pressure.
      -occasionally may saturate keyboards with liquid.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    “Tobacco Companies Required To Report Levels Of Dozens Of Chemicals”

    They were also asked if cigarettes were addictive and they said no.

    Why would I believe them if they are required to self-report these levels?

    • yabdor says:

      You’ll notice that Polonium isn’t on the list. It should be. So, as can be seen, you are quite right not to believe them.

  7. powdered beefmeat says:

    It’s a proven fact; the number one cause of death is living.

  8. cspschofield says:

    Whenever I get cornered by and anti-smoker the way the tobacco companies “process” tobacco (which amounts to taking all the nicotine out and then putting a bunch back) gets brought up. This kind of regulation is why. The government decided that the companies had to provide reliable levels of tar and nicotine, and so (with the exception of a few ‘natural’ brands like American Spirit) the tobacco companies use heavily process tobacco, BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO.

    • James Bolivar DiGriz says:

      “(with the exception of a few ‘natural’ brands like American Spirit) the tobacco companies use heavily process tobacco, BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO.”

      If they are being “forced” to process their tobacco because of government regulation, why doesn’t American Spirit have to as well? I’m just trying to understand your argument.. you say BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO….but.. they don’t have to?

    • Cheap_AND_Jaded says:

      Ummm, perhaps, but NOT!!

      One additive that has nothing to do with your description causes a cigarette to burn evenly. Another makes them burn faster. That’s why, when you set down your lit cigarette, it keeps burning and eventually burns down to the end. So you have to buy more cigarettes!

      So, after adding these items, you have to add flavoring and flavor enhancers because the two additives taste bad. Start burning all this stuff, and what kinds of side effects occur?

      Ever smoke a Shermans (completely natural) cigarette? They go out if you stop smoking them. You can re-light them and smoke the whole thing.

      I quit 30+ years ago. I don’t lecture people or even bring it up. But this is a particularly nasty industry and blaming the problem on government regulations is just a lie.


      • Consumerista says:

        No. All cigarettes in America are now FSC. Fire Safe Cigarette. They will self extinguish.

    • mbz32190 says:

      American Spirit is owned (although the ownership is fairly hidden) by RJ Renyolds…just pointing that out. The cigs may be a bit more natural, but the money all goes to the same place.

  9. TravelWithDignity says:

    are all these chemicals added in like formaldehyde and ammonia and arsenic? That doesn’t seem like those chemicals occur naturally (or are they formed as a result fo the burning process??)

  10. AllanG54 says:

    I don’t smoke but if I did I don’t think I’d give a rat’s butt about what was in my cigs just like I don’t care how much sugar I’m eating when I go through a box of Oreos.

  11. Slader says:

    Notice how they throw “Potentially Harmful” in with harmful? It is to purposely cause confusion. Water is potentially harmful. How? If you drink too much it can kill you or just a few ounces in your lungs can kill you. Most of the items on the list are present in such small quantities that they are almost non-existent. Also, they do not show how much is present compared with how much is needed to be harmful and no, it is not true that any amount is harmful. If we went by that measure we would have to ban apples and a large number of other items that we presently use. Cal me a conspiracy theorist, but I feel there is something else going on behind the scenes. For example, I know that Johnson and Johnson the maker of several stop smoking drugs gives hundreds of millions of dollars every year to smoke free kids and tobacco free through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help sell their products (thus making huge profits). However, I fee there is more to it than that. Why? Well, if smoking caused cancer like we are told, why do the French and Japanese smoke more than us, yet have lower cancer rates?

  12. u1itn0w2day says:

    I noticed some metals such as selenium & lead as ingredients. What do they do for the function of a cigarette?

  13. Baelzar says:

    Thank gawd! I had NO IDEA smoking was bad for me!

    The whole coughing, labored breathing and lack of lung capacity didn’t clue me in.

  14. NotLeftist says:

    Bah. It’s bad for me. I know it’s bad for me. I’ll pay for it with higher insurance premiums–no problem with that. I don’t smoke my stogies around folks who don’t like them.

    When do the fatties get their higher premiums?