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Tobacco Companies Secretly Added Appetite Suppressants to Cigarettes
A recent study of tobacco industry documents reveals that cigarette makers added appetite-suppressing substances to cigarettes and strategized on how to enhance the appetite-suppressing and weight-reducing effects of smoking. In the 1960s, Philip Morris (PM) added tartaric acid to its cigarettes to reduce smokers' appetite. British American Tobacco (BAT) added the same substance to its cigarettes. Another known tobacco additive with appetite-reducing characteristics, 2-acetylepyridine, was referred to in industry documents using code-names and was used as a cigarette ingredient by PM, Brown & Williamson, R.J. Reynolds and BAT. The companies also considered adding ephedrine and amphetamine to cigarettes, but these chemicals were not found in their ingredients lists. Cigarette makers strategized that they could get away with adding appetite-suppressing chemicals to cigarettes as long as they made no overt health claims about their effects to the public. In a 1969 memo, Helmut Wakeham, PM's scientific director, in response to a question about introducing specific substances into cigarettes, explained that "FDA [has] no requirements until a health claim is made. Then there must be studies on safety, efficacy, mechanism of action, metabolism, etc. If a substance is simply added to a product and no claims are made there is not need for FDA approval.