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Additives in cigarettes

Tobacco companies use additives like chocolate to make cigarettes taste more appealing. The tobacco industry adds hundreds of additives to cigarettes to make easier to smoke and more appealing.

Cigarettes contain a wide range of additives, which vary by brand and can include chocolate, vanilla, menthol, peppermint, sugar, liquorice, herbs and spices.

They may not be harmful themselves but they help to overcome the initial off-putting taste that new smokers often experience.

Masking the sight and smell of smoke

Internal documents from the tobacco industry, made available on the internet thanks to legal action in the USA, also reveal that it used additives to make second-hand smoke less irritating.

Some additives have been used to make the smoke less visible, while others mask the smell, including vanilla, cinnamon, coffee extract and nutmeg oil.

While these may make cigarettes more ‘socially acceptable’, they are not actually any safer.

Designing cigarettes for young people

In the 1970s, the tobacco industry began developing cigarettes specifically targeted at young people. These brands were designed to be less harsh and irritating.

Some companies used smoother tobacco at the filter end and stronger tobacco at the lit end. This gave a strong nicotine hit to start with but left the smoker with a ‘smoother’, more appealing taste.

The tobacco companies also added taste enhancers that make the cigarette seem smoother, including a combination of vanilla, chocolate and liquorice.

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Updated: 25 September 2009