According to Greg Connolly, D.M.D., M.P.M., director of the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program, the study "will allow a consideration of the regulation of the addictive properties of cigarettes in a way that has never before been possible."
Coincidentally, the study comes on the heels of a recent controversy in Europe over the disclosure of tobacco ingredients. Last week, Dutch Health Minister Han Hoogervorst ordered tobacco manufacturers to make public all ingredients used in cigarettes, cigars and loose tobacco sold in the Netherlands, and to reveal which ingredients are addictive. The new rule -- which also applies to foreign-based companies -- was issued over the protests of tobacco companies concerned about the disclosure of proprietary product information. According to an April 25 Reuters report, BAT Netherlands, a subsidiary of the tobacco giant British American Tobacco, objected to the disclosure of additives used in cigarettes sold in the Dutch market. A spokesman for the company stated:
"... to our understanding this requirement goes beyond what was required by the EU directive and it is most detrimental to our position vis-a-vis our competitors, and certain information cannot be declared . . . ."
Dutch officials stated that the government would not reveal specific tobacco formulations, preventing competitors from copying a specific brand of cigarette. In the United States, there are no formal tobacco industry or FDA guidelines covering the appropriate levels of free-base nicotine in cigarettes, Pankow said. "But the 'conventional wisdom' put forth by the industry in the past suggested small percentages of free-base nicotine," he said.