Cigarette firms face cheat claim on tar tests

As cigarette prices rise to €8 a pack, it raises suspicions

Tobacco giants have been accused of cheating nicotine and tar tests meaning smokers are inhaling five times as much nicotine and up to 10 times as much tar as thought.

Anti-smoking group Comité National Contre le Tabagisme said its tests had shown that tiny holes in cigarette filters “falsified results” by allowing more air to pass when used on a test machine than when covered by a smoker’s fingers or lips.

It has started legal action in Paris against Philip Morris, British American, Japan Tob­acco and Imperial Brands saying they are tricking “smokers who think they are smoking one packet a day but are actually smoking the equivalent of two to 10 packets”.

Tobacco is blamed for 75,000 deaths a year from cancer and cardiovascular prob­lems in France. The industry has faced measures to cut smoking, including the introduction of plain packs and a series of price rises ending in €10 packets by 2020.