Out of the ashes: the life, death, and rebirth of the "safer" cigarette in the United States

Am J Public Health. 2004 Feb;94(2):192-204. doi: 10.2105/ajph.94.2.192.


From 1964 through the early 1980s, both federal and voluntary agencies endorsed the concept of "safer" cigarettes. Beginning in the mid-1980s, several factors, including revelations of tobacco industry malfeasance, the development of nicotine replacement therapy, and the reconceptualization of smoking as a chronic disease, led to "safer" cigarettes being discredited. In the past few years, some public health professionals have begun to reconsider the viability of developing such products. The issue before us is stark: will a commitment to limiting the toll exacted by smoking preclude the tolerance of a product that while not safe may possibly be safer?

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • American Medical Association
  • Consumer Product Safety*
  • Deception
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Marketing / trends
  • National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, U.S., Health and Medicine Division
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage
  • Nicotine / toxicity
  • Politics*
  • Public Health Practice / history*
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Tobacco Industry / ethics
  • Tobacco Industry / history*
  • Tobacco Industry / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • United States
  • United States Public Health Service
  • Voluntary Health Agencies


  • Nicotine