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  B&W Test Markets New Cigarette

By Bruce Schreiner
Associated Press Writer
Monday, Nov. 5, 2001; 7:43 p.m. EST

LOUISVILLE, Ky. –– Brown & Williamson Tobacco on Monday started test marketing a cigarette touted as significantly reducing toxins from cigarette smoke compared with leading lights brands on the market.

The claim has anti-tobacco advocates fuming. They accused the company of deceptive advertising that turns smokers into guinea pigs.

Brown & Williamson, the nation's third-largest tobacco manufacturer, introduced its Advance Lights cigarettes in Indianapolis on Monday.

The premium cigarette contains less toxins because of a special filter and a new tobacco-curing process, which represent a breakthrough in cigarette technology, said Sharon Boyse, B&W's director of research.

"While there is no such thing as a safe cigarette, the fact that Advance Lights contains less toxins, while still providing a smooth, satisfying taste for smokers, is an important step in the right direction," Boyse said.

M. Cass Wheeler, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association, said profit seeking, not public health, was the motivation behind Brown & Williamson's new cigarette.

"Essentially, Advance provides new smokers with a false sense of security and deters current smokers who may be concerned about potential health risks from quitting," Wheeler said.

Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said the introduction of "reduced risk" cigarettes underscores the need for Congress to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration full authority over the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products.

Myers said it was irresponsible for B&W to make claims about the new product until a government agency verifies those statements.

"Until the FDA is given such authority, customers smoking these new products are essentially human guinea pigs in a deadly science experiment," Myers said.

Vector Tobacco also is producing a cigarette touted as a safer smoke. Vector Tobacco, owned by Miami-based Vector Group Ltd., says its new Omni cigarette brand is made with a chemical treatment that reduces certain cancer-causing elements in cigarette smoke.

Brown & Williamson said the filter for its new cigarette was developed to lower the levels of many toxins found in cigarette smoke. The filter is made up of three sections, each of which interacts with a different set of toxic compounds within cigarette smoke, it said.

Advance Lights include flue-cured tobacco cured using a new process, using high temperature and high-speed airflow, the company said. The process is meant to inhibit formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines. Advance Lights also contain other tobaccos naturally low in nitrosamines.

Every pack of Advance Lights contains a pamphlet showing how much the major toxins in cigarette smoke are reduced compared to leading lights brands.

B&W's major brands include Kool, Lucky Strike, Carlton, Capri, Misty and Viceroy.

–––

On the Net:

Brown & Williamson: http://www.brownandwilliamson.com

American Heart Association: http://www.americanheart.org/

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: http://tobaccofreekids.org

© Copyright 2001 The Associated Press

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