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Additives in tobacco products - 1999 figures

15 May 2000

Additives in tobacco products - 1999 figures released

THE Ministry of Health today confirmed that the some cigarettes released for sale in New Zealand in 1999 may have contained higher levels of sugars than cigarettes released for sale in New Zealand during 1998.

Figures detailing the additives in cigarettes had been released by the Ministry to the Smokefree Coalition, under the Official Information Act 1982.

New Zealand tobacco importers and manufacturers are required to supply annual returns to the Ministry of Health under the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990. Among other matters, the returns list additives present in tobacco products and the maximum levels of each additive present in various classes of tobacco products, including cigarettes.

Figures show that the maximum amount of sugars found in cigarettes released for sale in New Zealand increased from 4.68 percent by weight in 1998 to 5.5107 percent by weight in 1999. This means that some cigarettes sold in New Zealand in 1999 had a higher level of sugars than cigarettes sold the previous year.

The maximum levels of some other sweetening additives also increased, some stayed the same and others fell.

Senior Analyst Matthew Allen said the Ministry was unable to determine whether levels of sweetners in New Zealand tobacco was increasing.

"The annual returns do not detail the total weight of sweetners added to tobacco, but instead list the additives present and the maximum levels of each."

Mr Allen said, "The changes in maximum additive levels could suggest that the makeup of cigarettes had changed, or they could relate to changes in the products available on the market. "

END

For more information contact: Selina Gentry, Media Advisor, ph: 04-496-2483 or 025-277-5411 Internet address: http://www.moh.govt.nz/media.html

Background Information

A selection of additives present in New Zealand cigarettes, and the maximum levels that they are present at, are provided below. Please note that this is a small fraction of additives added to NZ cigarettes.

Additive 1998 quantity not exceeded 1999 quantity not exceeded (percentage by weight) (percentage by weight)

Sugars 4.68 5.5107

Cocoa, cocoa shells, extract, distillate, butter and powder 3.02 3.02

Honey 2.91 2.96

Licorice root, fluid extract and powder 1.29 1.29

Menthol and L-menthol 0.71 1.2250

Prune juice, concentrate, and extract 1.076 1.0729

Molasses 0.5617 0.5092

Apricot extract and juice concentrate 0.35 0.35

Chocolate 0.2125 0.2122

Caramel/caramel colour 0.0250 0.0250


ENDS

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