Four major tobacco firms in France have been accused of cheating in tests to hide the true levels of nicotine and tar in their cigarettes.
According to France’s National Committee Against Smoking (CNCT), the French branches of Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco and Imperial Brands Plc have tricked smokers by manipulating tests.
Reuters has reported that the companies have been accused of producing cigarettes with ‘tiny holes in the filter that are designed to ventilate the inhaled smoke under test conditions.
‘When the cigarette is smoked by a person, however, the holes are compressed and largely covered by the smoker’s fingers or lips, causing the smoker to inhale harder and increasing the intake of nicotine and tar.’
The complaint by the CNCT claims ‘such a device tricks smokers because they are unaware of the degree of risk they are taking.’
It also said the true levels of nicotine in the companies’ cigarettes are five times higher than shown in the tests. Similarly, levels of tar are two to 10 times higher.
Whist most of the firms have denied this accusation, Philip Morris France has not yet made a comment.