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Is it not time to reveal the secret sauce of nicotine addiction?
  1. K Michael Cummings
  1. Correspondence to K Michael Cummings, PhD, MPH, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, 68 President Street, BEB 103-L, Charleston, SC 29425, USA; cummingk{at}

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In the courtroom, cigarette companies like to paint a picture that their consumers are informed about the health risks of their products so that they can argue that smokers are fully responsible for any health consequences that might arise.1 While that is a convenient legal defense, it is a smoke screen. The reality is most consumers have not got a clue how their cigarettes are engineered and how the design of their cigarettes might relate to why they find it hard to stop smoking and why they get sick as a result.2 While I have heard defense lawyers argue that consumers really are not interested in knowing how their cigarettes are made, that argument is contradicted by polling data showing that the vast majority of smokers want to know more about the products they use.2

While some governments have succeeded in requiring tobacco manufacturers to disclose information about their products, most of the data obtained has been useless to consumers, because it cannot be shared on the grounds that …

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