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Search for a Safe Cigarette

Program Overview


Cigarettes are one of the most dangerous consumer products on the market. They are also one of the least regulated. NOVA chronicles scientific efforts over the past 50 years to achieve the elusive goal of a safe cigarette.

The program:

  • chronicles the tobacco industry's development of cigarettes over the past 50 years, reviewing ongoing attempts to reduce the hazardous chemicals in cigarette smoke.

  • describes the components of cigarette smoke and its harmful effects on the respiratory and circulatory systems.

  • traces cigarette advertising over time, including a period when the industry marketed smoking as a positive lifestyle choice while secretly working to eliminate dangerous toxins in tobacco smoke.

  • notes that the cigarette industry chose not to market "safer" cigarettes for fear of lawsuits resulting from the implication that previous products were dangerous.

  • provides statistics on cigarette use, production, health, and money involved in the industry.

  • raises the question of the lack of federal regulatory oversight by pointing out that cigarettes are not subject to the same testing procedures required of other consumer products.

Teacher's Guide
Search for a Safe Cigarette
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