The ecomomics of cigarettes

Manufacturers have been increasing the amount of nicotine in cigarettes.

According to a study published by a team of Harvard researchers, cigarette manufacturers have been adding more and more nicotine to cigarettes. Between 1998 and 2005, the cumulative increase in nicotine yield was 11.3 percent. It is not the first shadowy tactic deployed by the tobacco industry, but the study suggests how far they’re willing to go to satisfy their lust for money.

The cigarette manufacturers are able to increase the amount of nicotine in several ways. One way is to adjust the design of the cigarette filter. By changing the ventilation levels, they can increase the amount of nicotine in each puff. Another way is to put more tobacco in each cigarette, giving smokers more to smoke. They can also change the blend of tobacco in order to produce higher nicotine content in each cigarette.

Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time cigarette manufacturers have done this. According to the report, the Food and Drug Administration was aware of a similar increase between 1982 and 1991.

These companies have known all along that success was in the cigarette. Or perhaps they just knew that success had to be in the cigarette. The industry has been under attack from all sides. Cigarette taxes were constantly increasing. They had to settle a few lawsuits for killing people. Not to mention that all of their billboards were replaced by anti-smoking billboards. So, like most good entrepreneurs, they found an innovative way to overcome obstacles.

Low-income smokers can’t afford to buy as many cigarettes? Give them more bang for their buck. Younger smokers are more reluctant to start smoking? Make that first hit even more addictive.

Perhaps our politicians were duped, just like the rest of us, into believing that any person with even one ounce of common decency wouldn’t actively try to sell smoking. Everyone knows the statistics. Everyone knows the harmful effects of smoking. But somehow, it is more important to make a lot of money. Perhaps that’s the real addiction we should be trying to curb.