Liggett worked on increasing nicotine in cigarettes Its data are released a day after it admits nicotine is addictive

Tobacco

March 22, 1997|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

DURHAM, N.C. -- Brooke Group Ltd.'s Liggett tobacco division worked to develop a cigarette with an artificially increased nicotine impact, according to internal Liggett research documents.

The cigarette maker also worked to make a "less hazardous" cigarette, although Liggett and other tobacco companies had claimed that smoking is not hazardous to a smoker's health, nor is nicotine addictive.

The documents could help show that Liggett manipulated nicotine levels to keep their customers hooked on the products, evidence which could be used in court against other tobacco companies in health-related lawsuits by 22 states, including Maryland.

The documents were obtained yesterday, one day after Brooke's Liggett division acknowledged that cigarettes are addictive and harmful as part of a settlement with states suing the industry.

Liggett also agreed to cooperate with the states by providing testimony and documents.

According to a 1973 memo, Liggett scientists undertook a project to increase smoke pH.

"A low smoke solids, low nicotine cigarette with an increased smoke pH would then have relatively more free nicotine in its smoke, and consequently, a higher nicotine impact," say the documents, which were given to the states suing the major tobacco companies.

Other documents will go to judges hearing various cases against Philip Morris Cos., RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp. and other companies.

Those judges will determine whether the papers, which concern joint legal efforts by the industry, can be used as evidence.

Liggett's competitors argue that the release of the documents would violate attorney-client privilege.

Pub Date: 3/22/97

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