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Pigs’ Blood Used in Cigarette Filters

Researchers find that pigs’ haemoglobin is secretly used in cigarette filters to improve filter performance.

A Dutch researcher has found pigs’ haemoglobin (pigs’ blood) in cigarette filters. The haemoglobin is used to increase the effectiveness of filters as a barrier to harmful chemicals that would otherwise travel to the lungs.

Although tobacco companies do list product ingredients, because this blood protein is considered a ‘processing aid that is not significantly present in and does not functionally affect the finished product’ these companies do not refer to the blood protein by name, but rather list it anonymously amongst the inclusive term, ‘processing aids’.

University of Sydney public health professor Simon Chapman commented on the Dutch research, saying, "I think that there would be some particularly devout groups who would find the idea that there were pig products in cigarettes to be very offensive…It just puts into hard relief the problem that the tobacco industry is not required to declare the ingredients of cigarettes ... they say 'that's our business' and a trade secret."

Chapman confirmed that the haemoglobin had been found in at least one brand of cigarettes.

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