Report Details How Cigarettes Are More Addictive, More Attractive and Even More Deadly Than Ever Before

Thailand’sA report published by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Designed for Addiction, details how tobacco companies have manipulated the content and design of cigarettes over the past 50 years to control nicotine delivery, make tobacco smoke less harsh, and make cigarettes more appealing to new users. These design changes make the cigarettes of today more deadly than the cigarettes of 50 years ago and make it easier for new smokers – especially youth – to become addicted to nicotine and to stay addicted. 

Key findings

  • Tobacco companies have knowingly made cigarettes more addictive by adding ammonia compounds and sugars to increase the speed with which nicotine reaches the brain, which enhances the impact of nicotine.  Tobacco companies have also deliberately and precisely controlled the amount of nicotine delivered in each cigarette to ensure smokers become and stay addicted. 
  • Tobacco companies have purposefully made cigarettes more appealing by adding flavorings, including menthol and other compounds to make tobacco smoke smoother and less irritating and therefore easier to smoke, particularly for first time smokers.
  • Tobacco companies have made cigarettes more deadly through changes in the design of cigarettes.  For example, the addition of ventilation holes in filters has caused smokers to inhale more vigorously, drawing cancer-causing toxins deeper into the lungs and increasing smokers’ risk of developing certain types of lung cancer. They marketed these so-called ‘light’ cigarettes as less hazardous despite knowing there was no actual health benefit to users.


Key Messages

  • The tobacco industry now makes cigarettes that are more addictive and deadly than ever before.
  • Design changes in cigarettes and ingredients in recent decades have made cigarettes more appealing to non-smokers, especially youth. 
  • Do not be fooled by the tobacco industry. For more than 40 years, the tobacco companies denied that smoking cigarettes was addictive. At the same time, they knowingly increased the addictiveness of cigarettes through product design changes while keeping their extensive internal research from public health authorities worldwide.   

Full Citation:  Designed for Addiction: How the Tobacco Industry Has Made Cigarettes More Addictive, More Attractive to Kids and Even More Deadly. Washington, D.C: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; 2014.

Download the English version of the report here:

Download the Spanish version of the report here:

Download the Portuguese version of the report here:

Additional Resources:   For additional information about the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, including an overview of key FCTC articles[English only], visit:

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is partner organization in the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, a global initiative to combat tobacco use in low- and middle-income countries, where more than two-thirds of the world’s smokers live.

If you have questions about the report or how to use it in your advocacy efforts, please email