Long before the widespread use of freebasing, tobacco industry scientists knew that nicotine deliveries were sensitive to pH manipulation (by adding acids or bases). Several documents from the 1930s and 1940s discuss how to reduce the amount of free nicotine in tobacco by adding an organic acid, which would combine with the free nicotine base to form a (bound) nicotine salt.37 Free (vs “ combined” ) nicotine in those early years was often characterized as “ toxic,” 38 which made sense at a time prior to the push to reduce tar and nicotine in the “ filter wars” and “ tar derby” of the 1950s and 1960s. Many other industry documents from this earlier period describe the well known art of denicotinization, which often used a base (such as ammonia) and steam to remove the offending alkaloid from tobacco. Denicotinization involves some of the same processes as freebasing, although the desired outcomes are different. Denicotinization involves the application of gaseous ammonia so that, upon addition of steam, the nicotine can be removed freebasing impregnates tobacco with a salt (such as DAP) so that ammonia is released when the cigarette is lit, making nicotine more available to the smoker.
Tobacco chemists knew enough to freebase nicotine as early as the 1930s and 1940s,39 but there was little reason then to manipulate cigarettes in this manner. Smoking was not yet widely accepted as a cause of lung and heart disease,40 and most people still smoked cigarettes yielding very high levels of tar and nicotine. Only beginning with the “ health scare” of the 1950s, and with increasing urgency in the 1960s and 1970s, did Philip Morris and the other manufacturers scramble to appease a rattled public by marketing cigarettes with lower levels of tar and nicotine, which is where the value of ammoniation came in.
It is difficult to say whether Philip Morris scientists expected diammonium phosphate to increase the availability of free nicotine in its new version of Marlboro, introduced in the mid 1950s. After all, the compound was largely being used as a pectin releaser and flavorant in reconstituted tobacco. Philip Morris chemists were, however, experts in pH manipulation, as were chemists more generally. Freebasing was not an unknown phenomenon, but there was not yet a practical need for it in the cigarette business.
In 1962, a Philip Morris study found diammonium phosphate products delivering 0.57 mg of nicotine per cigarette versus 0.44 mg in untreated tobaccos.41 Keenly aware of the increasing demand for cigarettes low in nicotine,42 Philip Morris later used its patented DAP BL process to give its “ low yield” Merit brand an edge over its competitors. Merit cigarettes boasted a total nicotine yield (measured by Federal Trade Commission machines) only half of that found in Marlboros, but still managed to make available the same amount of free nicotine to smokers (about 0.33 mg in both instances). Brown and Williamson scientists reflected on this in 1980, commenting that “ in theory a person smoking these cigarettes Merit and Marlboro would not find an appreciable difference in the physiological satisfaction from either based on the amount of free nicotine delivered.” 43
This was not the first time Brown and Williamson had pondered the value of freebasing. Its parent company, British American Tobacco, in the mid 1960s had recognized along with Philip Morris that the “ strength” or “ impact” of a cigarette was related not to the total nicotine content of the smoke but rather to the amount of “ extractable” or “ free” nicotine, which varied significantly with smoke pH.44 Brown and Williamson in 1971 had given the code name UKELON to urea, an ammonia source that the company recognized as “ a way of achieving normal impact from low tar cigarettes.” 45 The same company’ s “ Project LTS” (low “ tar” satisfaction) acknowledged that free (un protonated) nicotine was “ more readily absorbed and thus has a decidedly satisfying effect on the smokers’ taste receptors.” The goal of LTS was a cigarette containing “ greater levels of ‘ free’ nicotine” in “ an enhanced alkaline environment.” 46 By 1980, the company had concluded that “ we have sufficient expertise available to ‘ build’ a lowered mg tar cigarette which will deliver as much ‘ free nicotine’ as a Marlboro, Winston or Kent without increasing the total nicotine delivery above that of a ‘ Light’ product.” 47
Apart from DAP BL recon, Philip Morris experimented with other kinds of ammonia technology. As early as 1957, for example, the company came up with the economically unfeasible “ New Idea No. 46” 48 to “ soak stems in liquid ammonia,” imparting to them greater “ protein like” material and “ those properties now being produced by the aqueous NaOH, by virtue of its basic nature.” 49 The ammonia was difficult to recycle, however, and the idea was quickly abandoned. A 1966 progress report on “ nicotine and smoke pH” discussed the results of adding ammonium carbonate and oxalic acid to tobacco and concluded that nicotine deliveries could be “ controlled via filler or smoke pH adjustment.” 50 Throughout this time, from the mid 1960s through the 1970s and 1980s, the company kept a close eye on the pH levels of its major brands.51
Marlboro menthol regular cigarettes – reviews for marlboro cigarettes online
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