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The Smokefree Coalition is committed to preventing the uptake of smoking among young people and reducing the smoking rates of all New Zealanders.

We encourage debate about tobacco control issues.

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Why can't I Quit? – What the tobacco companies haven't told you about their products

By Dr Prudence Stone, Director, The Smokefree Coalition

Today's cigarette smokers have a much higher risk of lung disease than smokers in 1964, despite smoking fewer cigarettes, according to the US Surgeon General.

Over the past 50 years, tobacco manufacturers have designed products that are highly effective at sustaining nicotine addiction, and have appealed to new smokers with false messages of reduced harm from "light" or "low tar" cigarettes.

Nicotine makes tobacco smoke harsh and difficult to smoke, so manufacturers use additives to make tobacco products smoother and more appealing to the novice smoker. An example is levulinic acid, which makes the smoke feel less irritating.

Such design changes have made cigarettes both more addictive and more lethal.

The surgeon-general cites evidence, including the tobacco industry's own documents, to demonstrate how they have used chemicals to increase the addictive impact of nicotine. Examples include ammonia, which increases the speed at which nicotine is delivered to the brain, and sugars which make it easier to inhale tobacco smoke.

While not harmful, nicotine is what makes tobacco products addictive. Industry documents indicate the companies precisely control the delivery and amount of nicotine to create and sustain addiction.

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The Smokefree Coalition maintains political neutrality throughout all communications. We do not endorse or make donations to any political party.
We support Government's commitment to making Aotearoa New Zealand a smokefree nation by 2025.