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Smokeless cigarettes under fire.

Smokeless cigarettes under fire

The "smokeless cigarette" may be all it's cracked up to be, and more. Research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) laboratory in Baltimore, Md., shows the "cigarettes" can be used to smoke crack, a highly addictive form of cocaine.

NIDA scientists Edward J. Cone and Jack E. Henningfield found they could alter a smokeless cigarette called Premier, manufactured by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. of Winston-Salem, N.C. Premier looks like a conventional cigarette but is actually a paper-covered tube containing a nicotine chamber and a charcoal heating tip. Smokers light the tip and draw hot air through the chamber, vaporizing the flavor chemicals and nicotine, which are inhaled into the lungs.

Cone and Henningfield emptied the nicotine-laden chemicals from the cigarette's chamber and packed it with 200 milligrams of crack. They then hooked these crack-loaded cigarettes up to smoking machines. They found that the machines got a dose of cocaine that would produce the "high" that crack users seek. They published their report as a letter in the Jan. 6 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION.

The NIDA RESEARCHERS SAY THEY WORRY THAT R.J. Reynolds has given drug users an easy way to get their "high" in public. The crack-loaded Premier looks like a cigarette and would allow drug users to smoke crack without carrying cumbersome drug paraphernalia.

R.J. Reynolds spokesman Seth Moskowitz calls the NIDA research "ridiculous." He says Premier is marketed and designed to be a cigarette. "We think it is outrageous that government funds are being used to attack Premier," he says. R.J. Reynolds began test-marketing the product last October in St. Louis, Tucson and Phoenix.

The NIDA study adds fuel to growing movement to ban Premier and other smokeless cigarettes (SN: 9/26/87, p.204). The American Medical Association and other health groups have petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to step in and regulate these devices. An FDA official says the matter may be put on hold until the Bush administration takes office.
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Title Annotation:can be used to smoke crack cocaine
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 14, 1989
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