Additive-free cigarettes may pack more toxic punch

Despite perceptions that additive-free cigarettes and the hand-rolled cigarettes from India called bidis may provide a less-toxic smoke than conventional cigarettes, new research suggests the opposite may be true. For the study, researchers asked 10 volunteers to smoke an unfiltered, additive-free American Spirit cigarette, a strawberry-flavored bidi, a non-flavored bidi and one of the participants’ own preferred brands of conventional cigarette. Results showed that two minutes after smoking the unfiltered, additive-free American Spirit cigarette or either type of bidi, participants’ plasma nicotine levels were significantly higher than when they smoked their own cigarettes. The high nicotine levels lasted longest with the American Spirit cigarette. Study results are published in the December issue of Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

From the National Institute of Drug Abuse :ADDITIVE-FREE CIGARETTES MAY PACK A MORE TOXIC TOBACCO PUNCH

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Despite perceptions that additive-free cigarettes and the hand-rolled cigarettes from India called bidis may provide a less-toxic smoke than conventional cigarettes, new research suggests the opposite may be true.
Study results published in the December issue of Nicotine & Tobacco Research examine several physiological and subjective factors among regular smokers who were asked to smoke both bidis and additive-free American Spirit cigarettes in a controlled test.

“Recently, there has been an increase in the use of alternative cigarettes such as bidis, cloves and additive-free cigarettes by adolescents,” said lead researcher Wallace Pickworth of the National Institute of Drug Abuse. “In the Boston area, for example, 40 percent of teenagers had smoked bidis at least once in their lifetime and 16 percent were current bidi smokers. About 13 percent of the sample thought bidis were safer than conventional cigarettes.”

Aside from perceptions that they are a lesser health risk than conventional cigarettes, bidis may also be popular with adolescents because they are manufactured in a variety of flavors, such as chocolate or root beer. Bidis are also generally less expensive than cigarettes and easier for youths to purchase, Pickworth said.

For the study, Pickworth and his team asked 10 research volunteers – 24.5 years old on average and considered “healthy smokers” – to smoke an unfiltered, additive-free American Spirit cigarette, a strawberry-flavored bidi, a non-flavored bidi and one of the participants’ own preferred brands of conventional cigarette.

During each session, the researchers measured participants’ plasma nicotine and exhaled carbon monoxide. Researchers also recorded the length of time participants took to smoke a cigarette or bidi, and the number of puffs. After smoking, participants completed questionnaires about each product.

Results showed that two minutes after smoking the unfiltered, additive-free American Spirit cigarette or either type of bidi, participants’ plasma nicotine levels were significantly higher than when they smoked their own cigarettes. The high nicotine levels lasted longest with the American Spirit cigarette.

Measured levels of exhaled carbon monoxide were less consistent. Researchers measured these levels 15 minutes after participants finished smoking each sample. Exhaled carbon monoxide levels dropped below those of the participants’ own cigarette brands 15 minutes after smoking the American Spirit cigarette and the unflavored bidi. The strawberry-flavored bidi, however, left participants exhaling higher amounts of carbon monoxide than with their preferred brands.

“Data from this study were collected in a single exposure to alternative cigarettes in a laboratory environment,” Pickworth granted. “The sample size was small, predominantly male and restricted to those over 18 years of age, and included only occasional bidi smokers. These characteristics may have influenced smoking patterns and subjective estimates and may limit the generalizability of the results.

“Nevertheless,” he adds, “the results indicate that, contrary to the belief of many consumers, bidi and additive-free cigarettes deliver substantial amounts of nicotine and other toxic components of tobacco smoke.”

This research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

 


The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Have a question? Let us know.

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38 thoughts on “Additive-free cigarettes may pack more toxic punch”

  1. They have upped whatever chemicals they are putting into camels and marlboros a lot the last 2 years. Marlboro southern cut is the worst. Do not buy them. I have know idea what they put into them but they make my leg hurt more than the others.

    Reply
  2. I have tried all cigarettes just about. American spirits are the only ones that don’t taste like chemicals. They burn slower and I usually only smoke half of one at a time. Also I have a DVT and they affect my leg less.

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  3. This is clearly biased. The nicotine part is irrelevant, the carbon monoxide, the actual deadly compound, was lower in the American Spirits and Bidis (other than strawberry). I think that result is not insignificant as they put it, but much more significant. It shows that additives raise CO levels when you smoke and make the CO levels last longer.

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  4. “TESTS SHOW THAT CIGARETTES WITH NO ADDITIVES HAVE HIGHER LEVELS OF NICOTINE”

    Holy **** man, no way! F*** DUDE, IM SO HAPPY I SMOKE NORMAL CHEMICAL FILLED MARLBOROS.

    This **** is nothing but anti smoking f****** bullshit.

    I guarantee that someone smoking non additive cigarettes will live longer and have less health complications than those god awful death sticks that these bastard companies produce.

    This isn’t a study, its like watching two midgets try to slap eachother in the face with their dicks, but less entertaining and more infuriating for people who actually smoke OR just wanted to know facts about the ammount of damage the non-additive cigarettes do compared to the chemical filled nonsense.

    also for those of you who dont smoke non-additive cigarettes, give it a shot, i smoked camel for 2 years then made a switch to american spirits, you feel a hell of a lot better without the other additives being absorbed into your body.

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  5. HOW can you compare a filter and non filter. THis test is BEYOND infuriating.
    My Oh my why is it sooo difficult to find out how much damage nicotine causes in comparison to other additives. I dont need to be lectured about nicotine is not good for you. I got it. The ENTIRE point of additive free is the remove the ADDED harm of the additives.

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  6. Put a filter on the additive free cigarette you F****** retards! Science is supposed to be about FACTS not your unusual, unrealistic “study” haha this entire blog is a joke! Either your working for the government or your just flat out ignorant! I smoked regular cigarettes for years and switched to all natural American spirit and have noticed a huge difference in my lungs, body and energy levels! Science is logic right? Well logically it would just “make sense” that cigarettes that do not have POISONOUS CHEMICALS in them would kill you slower… But wtf do I know?

    Reply
  7. Nicotine tricks your brain by stimulating the reward pathways with a shot of dopamine, the hormone that tells us that things like food and sex are pleasurable. It also increases activity in the cholinergic pathways of the brain. These pathways are concentrated in the brain stem and are believed to be involved in cognitive functions, like memory. An increase here makes you feel sharper and more focused. As if that’s not enough, nicotine also increases your endorphin levels, the proteins that give you feelings of euphoria. At night when you aren’t smoking, those pathways are shut down again and you wake craving cigarettes. One-third of all smokers have their first cigarette of the day within 10 minutes of waking up [source: FDA].

    Naturally occurring nicotine levels found in tobacco already make smokers want to smoke. Then the Marlboro Man came along and tipped the scales more by souping-up the nicotine with the addition of sugar. When sugar is burned, it produces a chemical called acetaldehyde. Research studies on lab rats have shown that the little rodents will repeatedly self-administer shots of acetaldehyde much like they would nicotine.

    Cigarette maker Phillip Morris conducted internal studies that showed that acetaldehyde and nicotine make for pretty good bedfellows. On average, lab rats self-administered 240 doses of acetaldehyde per day, compared to 90 doses of nicotine. When the two chemicals were combined and the rats could choose to administer the cocktail over the individual ingredients, they did so in spades — with a whopping 400 doses per day [source: Ralof]. Nicotine replacement therapies like gum and patches may help to stave of the desire for nicotine, but they don’t touch the acetaldehyde. Another interesting factoid — when the body begins to break down alcohol, it produces acetaldehyde. So if you have a harder time not reaching for a smoke when you have a beer in your hand, it’s no coincidence. Once the acetaldehyde is active in your system with that drink, you’ll crave more in the form of a cigarette.

    Another thing that makes it tough to stop smoking is something called free-base nicotine. This is a variation of the molecular structure of nicotine in which a hydrogen ion is missing. Why is that hydrogen ion special? Without it, nicotine vaporizes more easily into a gas, putting it on the express train to your lungs and from there, a quick ride to the brain. Any drug delivered to the brain more quickly is more addictive. Free-base nicotine basically does for smokers what crack does to cocaine users.

    Here’s where it gets interesting. Some brands of commercial cigarettes have been found to contain 10 to 20 times the amount of free-base nicotine than previously believed [source: Medical News Today]. Not only that, but the free-base nicotine is also packed more heavily toward the front of the cigarette, so those first few puffs really pack a wallop. Is it by some miracle that nicotine transforms into the free-base variety? Hardly. It’s helped along by the addition of ammonia to your smoky treat.

    Reply
  8. Actually, I find the study quite enlightening. I do offer a counter to it though. You only tested unfiltered American Spirits. Redo the test with filtered and unfiltered American Spirits as well as cutting off the filter of their prefered brand and then doing the test with the filtered version of their prefered brand. The filter reduces the amount of smoke entering the subjects lungs. This means that they are getting less nicotine because their is less smoke. I would like to know how this turns out if you guys try it again. I bet you it’ll be a little different. If I am correct, the filtered American Spirits will give less nicotine then the unfiltered. If possible, also do brain scans on subjects to test if the brain is reacting differently to the no additive cigarettes.

    Reply
  9. Hello, Neat post. There’s a problem with your site in internet explorer, could test this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace chief and a large component of other people will pass over your fantastic writing because of this problem.

    Reply
  10. oops ~ I did not realize that my first post went through, it told me it didn’t so I re-typed the whole thing and now there are two similar posts from me below ~ sorry readers~

    Reply
  11. Such crap ~ there is more nicotine in American Spirits BECAUSE THERE IS NO CHEMICALS REPLACING THE NICOTINE! The chemicals are what are so highly cancer causing and addictive ~ I switched to American spirits about 15 years ago and when I did I cut down to about 4-6 smokes a day ~ single smokes not packs. I have smoked about that much ever since. It’s because I’m not inhaling a bunch of chemicals that I’m addicted to. Also, there are actually many GOOD things in nicotine ~ during the Bubonic Plague they noticed that smokers were not getting the illness so they started making children smoke in school ~ You can look it up online, it’s true. So, if you are getting more nicotine that might be a good thing than if you are getting more chemicals!!!!!! You’ll smoke less as well. And, at least your body knows what to do with nicotine, it does not know what to do with chemicals except store them in your body in odd places. I switched to the organic blend recently and I notice they are even more mellow for me as well and the plant is also chemical free ~ meaning they aren’t just additive free when processed but the plant is also chemical free while growing so there are absolutely no traces of chemical at all. Also, make sure you eat a clean healthy diet as well ~ chemical free food as well is more important than anything!!!!

    Reply
    • Excellent post and I agree with you on all of this. I notice the same thing! I smoke the organic American Spirits and I’ll have 1 or 2 a day and I’m not craving for them, I’m simply enjoying them. You’re also right about nicotine. Nicotine isn’t really the problem. There are a lot of benefits that nicotine does for your body, the delivery system (smoking) is the main concern as well as the hundreds (and thousands after they are burned) of chemicals in say Marlboro or Camels.

      Reply
  12. This is crap ~ this is the thing, first of all they were using NON filtered American Spirit smokes ~ of course your nicotine level is going to be higher. Second, the nicotine level is higher in these smokes BECAUSE THERE IS NO CHEMICALS replacing the nicotine like in the mainstream smokes. So, while your nicotine levels may be lower smoking the other mainstream smokes, but DO THEY MEASURE YOUR CHEMICAL levels in your body after smoking a mainstream smoke and then after an American Spirit? Also, did you all know that they used to make kids smoke cigarrettes back when the bubonic plague was rampant? Yes, they did because they noticed that people who smoked did not get it so they made children smoke cigarrettes in school ~ This is because Nicotine actually has quite a few fantastic properties in it that are really good for you ~ My opinion ~ you may be getting more nicotine in a “natural” cigarrette, but at least you are getting chemicals and because you are getting more nicotine and only nicotine you don’t smoke as much or as often. I smoke about 4 single cigarrettes a day and have for 12 years now since I switched to American Spirits. I now smoke the Organic ones because the plant is also chemical free as well in these, meaning it’s not sprayed with any chemicals to help it grow or kill bugs etc…….. The crap that the mainstream media publishes is such crap. It’s all about MONEY for them anyway ~ if more and more people start smoking these natural smokes they are going to slowly but surely lose money and they are scared and that’s why this crap gets published. To SCARE people. At the end of it though, THEY are scared and so therefore trying to publish more BS. So angering.

    Reply
  13. Yeah, I’ll stick with the acetone free cigarettes. From the getgo I knew this was a bunk research. Every popular cigarette is filtered these days, so right there, the ‘control’ is busted.

    And a whole paragraph of this is talking about teens buying bidis. What does that have to do with anything but ‘non-mainstream cigarettes aren’t good’.

    I agree, bad science is what slowly kills America. But would you really trust a study posted on a blog website?

    There’s a better comparison between camels and American Spirit done by one participant in two days. Search ‘American Spirit comparison’. Has plenty more research than this junk.

    Reply
  14. Unless the American Spirit cigarette matched the type of cigarette the test subject normally smoked, this study was a waste if time and means absolutely nothing. They were likely comparing apples to oranges.

    Test an American Spirit Light, which is the most commonly smoked Am Spirit, against a Marlboro Light. You can’t test an unfiltered cigarette against a filtered cigarette. That’s just stupid. I am willing the bet most of the test subjects’ regular cigarettes were filtered.

    Reply
  15. i SMOKE NAT SHERMAN THE ONLY THING IS THAT THEY GET STALE QUICKER BECAUSE OF HAVING NO ADDITIVES IN THEM KEEP THEM IN FRIG AND THEY’LL LAST LONGER AND YOU WON’T SMOKE AS MUCH,ITS A REALLY QUALITY SMOKE I’VE TRIED OTHER ADDITIVES BUT NAT SHERMANS ARE THE BEST THE SMOOTH AND MILD FLAVOR IS WHAT MAKES THEM BETTER ALSO

    Reply
  16. i SMOKE NAT SHERMAN ,tHE ONLY THING ABOUT THEM IS THEY’LL GET STALE QUICKER BECAUSE OF NOT HAVING ALL THE PRESERVITIVES IN THEM LIKE OTHER CIGARETTES DO, tHERE SMOTHER AND MILD i CAN REALLY TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM AND OTHER BRANDS ITS THE QUALITY OF THE TOBACCO ,iF YOU HAVE TO SMOKE i SUGGEST NAT SHERMANS

    Reply
  17. This article is total bs.
    Nicotine is a naturally occuring substance found in many green vegetables and starches. Nicotine helps the brain promote dopeamine levels and increases nueron activity in some cases showing nueron repair. Nicotine also helps balance out ph levels in the blood as a natural alkaloid.

    Long live american spirits.

    Reply
  18. What an incredibly flawed study with obviously biased results. Non-filter vs filter, and de-emphasis of reduced CO2 emissions. The social stigma of cigarettes is built around the hysteria over second-hand smoke, and here we have a cigarette that can deliver more nicotine along with cleaner emissions. If anything, this article subtly endorses additive-free cigarettes while failing at science and failing to give a strong argument against them.

    Reply
  19. I seldom see smokers mention support places to stop smoking. Places like stop smoking communities can aid you to stop smoking without other methods. Get an urge, just create a post and get fast support. It helps! Just give it a try, you will be surprised how many users would attempt to aid you stop smoking.

    Reply
  20. I’ve done my research on this topic and I can assure that additive free cigarettes, like Nat. Shermans, are better than conventional cigarettes like Marlboro and Camels, etc. They do however still contain carbon monoxide and tar as it is a byproduct of smoking tobacco and is thus inescapable for smokers.
    This article is completely bogus, and bias, and is merely an attempt to dissuade people from thinking there are “healthier” cigarettes.
    If you really want to be healthy without quitting…I suggest an electronic cigarette. They pose very little health risk, no smell, and can be smoke indoor because they release only vapor not smoke. Look into them, they are amazing.

    Reply

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