A large number of chemicals are used in the growing, processing, and manufacture of tobacco. Residues of agricultural chemicals and chemicals added during manufacture contribute to the final product. Additives enhance the finished product in numerous ways.
From the late 1960s through the early 1980s, BAT's Additives Guidance Panel systematically reviewed additives. In the 1960s a B&W scientist expressed concern about the toxicology of combustion products of residues in tobacco. By the 1980s this perspective was characterized internally by some at B&W as "unscientific" and was regarded as a tactic by industry opponents in public health. Throughout the period, from the
1960s through the 1980s, legal, public relations, and regulatory concerns about agricultural chemicals and additives are evident in the documents.
The cooperative industry work on Chemosol demonstrates that the US cigarette companies could come together to investigate an additive that promised to reduce the cancer risk posed by smoking. It also demonstrates the central role industry lawyers had in guiding scientific research. The discussions about eugenol at the Brazil research conference in 1983 reinforce the evidence that BAT was interested in the pharmacological effects of smoking on its consumers.
The overall approach to agricultural chemicals and to additives reflected in the documents parallels that taken with nicotine and with health concerns about smoking. In the 1960s the companies honestly grappled with difficult technical issues, and the goal of a safe cigarette seemed within reach. By the 1980s, the documents were filled with defensiveness and concerns about potential regulations, public relations, and products liability.