Very few smokers know that there is sugar for cigarettes, suggests a new survey. In addition, very few realize that…
Very few smokers know that there is sugar for cigarettes, suggests a new survey.
In addition, very few realize that added sugar increases toxins in cigarette smoke, the authors wrote in the magazine Nicotine and Tobacco Research. 19659003]
“Knowledge is power and there is a clear gap in consciousness,” said lead researcher Andrew Seidenberg, a doctoral student for public health science at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Cigarettes contain natural and added sugars to reduce the hardness of smoke, making it easier to inhale. This also increases the amount of harmful chemicals in smoke and the addictive potential to smoke, said Seidenberg.
“Many participants told me they wanted to learn more about sugar in cigarettes,” said Seidenberg to Reuters Health by email. “So there is the opportunity to educate the public.”
Seidenberg and colleagues surveyed 4,350 adult cigarette smokers by recruiting them via Amazon Mechanical Turk to participate in an online experiment on e-cigarette advertising. At the end of the experiment, investigators answered two questions about added sugar in cigarettes: “Is sugar added to cigarettes?” And “Adding sugar to cigarettes increases toxins in cigarette smoke. Before this survey, had you ever heard of this effect of added sugar?” The participants also had the opportunity to leave open comments at the end of the study.
The researchers found that 5.5 percent of surveyors knew that sugar was added to cigarettes. The proportion who knew it was never higher than 1
0 percent when respondents were grouped by characteristics such as sex, age, income, education, racial and ethnicity.
And only 3.8 percent of respondents surveyed that added sugar increases poisons in smoke. 19659002] “We were really surprised that almost all smokers who investigated did not know that sugar was added to their cigarettes,” said Seidenberg.
He and colleagues are developing messages about added sugar in cigarettes to determine if they are useful for smoking cessation programs. For example, in a television campaign in Australia, an ad that was added to the popular song “Sugar, Sugar” by Archies ended with the following text on the screen: “Additives like sugar and honey can hide the bitter taste of the tobacco, but the harm cigarettes can not be hidden.”  Noel Brewer, who has examined cigarette packet messages on toxic chemicals, as well as public understanding of cigarette smoke ingredients, is like Seidenberg from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but he is not co-author of the current study. “Added sugar in cigarettes creates a trifle of death,” said Brewer to Reuters Health by email. “It makes the cigarettes more appealing, more addictive and more deadly. Smokers should be able to know what they smoke and they do not.”
“Cigarettes are dangerous in so many ways that it’s hard for people to keep an eye on it.” said Brewer. “Researchers continue to find new ways of making cigarettes harm and death.”