To review tobacco industry documents on filter ventilation in light of published studies
and to explore the role of filter ventilation in the design of cigarettes that deliver
higher smoke yields to smokers than would be expected from standard machine smoked
tests (Federal Trade Commission (FTC), International Organization for Standardization
Searched from November 1999 to November 2000 internet databases of industry documents
(www.pmdocs.com, www.rjrtdocs.com, www.lorillarddocs.com, www.bw.aalatg.com, www.cdc.gov/tobacco/industrydocs,
www.tobaccodocuments.org, www.tobaccopapers.org, www.hlth.gov.bc.ca/Guildford, www.cctc.ca/ncth/Guildford,
www.cctc.ca/ncth/Guildford2) for documents related to filter ventilation. Documents
found dated from 1955 through 1994.
Those documents judged to contain the most relevant information or data on filter
ventilation related to cigarette taste and compensatory smoking, while also trying
to avoid redundancy from various documents deriving from the same underlying data.
Filter ventilation is a crucial design feature creating three main problems for lower
tar cigarettes as measured by official smoking machine testing. Firstly, it misleadingly
makes cigarettes taste lighter and milder, and, therefore, they appear less dangerous
to smokers. Secondly, it promotes compensation mainly by facilitating the taking of
larger puffs. Thirdly, for very heavily ventilated cigarettes (that is, > 65% filter
air dilution), behavioural blocking of vents with lips or fingers is an additional
contributor to compensatory smoking. These three effects are found in industry research
as well as published research.
Filter ventilation is a dangerous, defective technology that should be abandoned in
less hazardous nicotine delivery systems. Health interested groups should test cigarettes
in a way that reflects compensatory smoking. Lower tar (vented filter) cigarettes
should be actively countermarketed.