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Learning English - Words in the News
01 September, 2006 - Published 11:04 GMT
Stronger cigarettes

The amount of nicotine in most cigarettes has gone up by around 10% over the last decade, according to a new study in the United States. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health measured the nicotine yield of different brands between 1998 and 2004 and found a worrying increase across the board. Experts warn the strongest cigarettes are harder to quit and easier to get addicted to. This report from Guto Harri:

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Under the law in Massachusetts, tobacco companies have to measure the nicotine content of every type of cigarette and report the results. The Department of Public Health in Boston collates the figures and draws conclusions.

A hundred and sixteen brands were looked at for this study. Ninety two were found to have higher nicotine yields than they did six years previously. And the biggest increases tended to be in brands that were popular with young smokers. That worries the department because of the addictive nature of nicotine. Stan Glance, a professor of medicine in San Francisco, explains why:

(Professor Glance:) The amount of nicotine that's delivered in every cigarette is ten per cent higher than it was six years ago -- means that it's easier to get hooked and harder to quit.

The big tobacco companies have always insisted that they are frank with their customers about the dangers of smoking and provide them with enough detail to make an informed decision. But none of them were prepared to comment on this study or discuss the detailed nicotine content of their products.

Guto Harri, BBC News, New York

Listen to the words

Under the law
there is a legal requirement

analyses and compares

draws conclusions
reaches judgements by thinking about a situation or facts

particular makes of goods, like Marlboro or Coca Cola


the addictive nature
the quality that makes you get used to something easily and need to have it regularly

to get hooked
to become addicted

to quit
to give up, to stop doing something that's usually bad for you

sincere, truthful

here, information

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