Tobacco specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) are one of the major classes of carcinogens found in tobacco products. As part of collaborative efforts to reduce tobacco use and resulting disease, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) carried out a two phase investigation into the worldwide variation of the levels of TSNAs in cigarette tobacco. In the first phase, representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) purchased cigarettes scientists from the CDC subsequently measured the levels of TSNAs in tobacco from 21 different countries. Although the data collected from this initial survey suggested that globally marketed U.S. brand cigarettes typically had higher TSNA levels than locally popular non U.S. cigarettes in many countries, the number of samples limited the statistical power of the study. To improve statistical power and to ensure adequate sampling, the CDC conducted a second survey of 14 countries. In addition to the United States, the CDC selected the world’s 10 most populous countries and three additional countries, so that at least two countries from each of the six WHO regions were represented. For each country, the CDC compared 15 packs of Marlboro cigarettes, which is the world’s most popular brand of cigarettes, with 15 packs of a locally popular non U.S. brand in the study country. Marlboro cigarettes purchased in 11/13 foreign countries had significantly higher tobacco TSNA levels than the locally popular non U.S. brands purchased in the same country. The findings suggest that TSNA levels in tobacco can be substantially reduced in some cigarettes.

Disgust over ‘maori’ brand cigarettes – health news

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One of the world’s biggest tobacco companies has caused a furore by using the Maori name in a brand of cigarettes.

Tobacco giant Philip Morris produces the l and M Maori mix brand overseas and now there are calls for them to be withdrawn.

The Maori mix cigarettes were discovered in Jerusalem, Israel, by a New Zealander, who was so shocked she immediately reported her discovery to the Maori Smoke Free Coalition.

Coalition director Shane Bradbrook says he is shocked by the brand name.


“What amazed me was it wasn’t here in our back yard they’ve misappropriated our cultural name and labelled it on something that kills four million people a year.”

Smoking is the single biggest killer of Maori people claiming on average between 650 and 1,000 lives each year, but this is the first time in history the Maori name name has actually been used to brand tobacco.

Previously, Maori images have been hijacked to promote smoking but that practice was stamped out decades ago.

Public Health Association NZ manager Noeline Holt says this is the most blatant abuse of Maori culture to promote smoking to date.

“On the packet you’ll see what looks like date palms or something like a south seas picture to me and in my view that’s saying ‘oh it’s safe and green and clean’.”

There have been many battles over Maori intellectual property rights in recent years and lawyer Maui Solomon argues this is a cultural invasion that no one should tolerate.

“This is one of the worst extremes, I guess, of how Maori knowledge is being abused and misused.”

Maori Party co leader Pita Sharples says he is angry about the news.

“My reaction is disgust, disappointment. You know I’m really angry. I guess as a first step the cigarettes I think definitely have to be removed from sale. I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how to authorise that. But it’s definitely got to be done.”

Phillip Morris, the company that makes the cigarettes, has so far been unavailable for comment.

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