Asbestos in Cigarettes

If you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma or Lung Cancer you could be entitled to significant compensation from both the Asbestos Trust Funds and asbestos product manufactures.

Contact us now for a FREE consultation.

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Asbestos in Cigarettes

If you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma or Lung Cancer you could be entitled to significant compensation from both the Asbestos Trust Funds and asbestos product manufactures.

Contact us now for a FREE consultation.

Free Case Review

A Major Health Risk

Cigarette smoking in and of itself is an increased risk factor for those exposed to asbestos. Lung cancer rates for smokers are estimated to be four times higher than for non-smokers.

Although we often associate asbestos exposure with construction and industrial uses, its prevalence is even more far-reaching.

Not only did smoking itself increase the risk of lung cancer but it was discovered that some cigarettes actually had asbestos fibers in the filter portion of the cigarette. So, even amidst the well-documented dangers of smoking, there is a lesser-known risk factor of asbestos being a component of cigarettes.

Certain cigarette companies’ inclusion of asbestos fibers raises questions even currently about the extent of health risks to consumers.

An Overview of Asbestos Use In Cigarettes

Asbestos is a mineral that was used in different industries throughout the 20th century. Its integration into consumer products led to health consequences that were initially unforeseen.

Around the mid-20th century, the tobacco industry started adding asbestos to cigarette filters. The industry was trying to enhance the appeal and perceived safety of products, and asbestos was regarded as an effective way to filter out particulate matter and reduce irritation.

Cigarette filters were designed to trap harmful tobacco smoke substances, and they were seen as an advancement and an innovation to reduce some of the risks associated with smoking.
Asbestos filters seemed like a promising way to improve the function because of their filtration capabilities.

Manufacturers would include asbestos in cigarette filters in different ways, including blending the fibers with cellulose acetate to improve the efficiency of filtering without impeding the smoking experience.

The tobacco industry had available the growing evidence that asbestos exposure was linked to serious health concerns but seemed indifferent. The concerns about diseases related to asbestos seemed to be overshadowed by profit margins and the quest to dominate the market.

The regulatory oversight for asbestos in cigarettes wasn’t stringent throughout most of the 20th century, so manufacturers were able to use it in their filters without much scrutiny. It took decades for comprehensive regulations to come about as far as the use of asbestos in consumer products.

The inhalation of asbestos through cigarettes increases the risk of asbestosis and lung cancer, as well as mesothelioma. As the awareness about the risks of asbestos grew and regulatory measures became stricter, the use of asbestos in filters ended.

The Kent Micronite Cigarette

Kent Micronite cigarettes were a brand introduced by the Lorillard Tobacco Company in the 1950s. They were marketed as technologically advanced with a filter to not only remove some of the harmful parts of cigarette smoke but also provide a smoother smoking experience.

The filter contained a material called micronite, which was actually a combination of things mentioned above—asbestos fibers, cellulose acetate and a binder.

Lorillard faced legal challenges and public scrutiny as far as the safety of the Kent Micronite cigarettes.

Other companies that are thought to have used asbestos in filters included:

People who could be at risk because of Kent Micronite cigarettes and others that contained
asbestos include not only smokers who would inhale fibers that are released from the filter but also people exposed to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke contains many of the harmful substances in mainstream smoke, and at the time when they were being used, they could have included asbestos.

Workers in the tobacco industry may have faced occupational exposure, and communities near facilities that produce cigarettes may have experienced environmental exposure.

While it’s hard to know exactly which companies were using asbestos in their cigarettes and
which types, there is also evidence indicating there may have been crocidolite asbestos in some products. That type of asbestos is especially dangerous because the fibers are thin and sharp, so they can penetrate the lungs deeply and cause damage. 

Health Conditions Linked to Asbestos Filter Cigarettes

Asbestos in cigarette filters is associated with several serious health conditions, including:

Other respiratory diseases linked to asbestos and smoking include bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pulmonary fibrosis.

The Latency Period for Mesothelioma

While it’s been decades since asbestos has been included in cigarette filters, mesothelioma has an extended latency period, meaning people are being diagnosed with conditions currently linked to exposure many years ago. The latency period is the time between an initial asbestos exposure and symptom onset or a diagnosis. The long latency period makes it difficult to both identify and address health consequences stemming from asbestos exposure, including from products like Kent Micronite cigarettes.

While there’s variance in the mesothelioma latency period, it usually ranges from 20 to 50 years or more. During this time, the fibers from the asbestos lodge in the tissues of the body and gradually damage cells, leading to tumors.

Even if someone smoked Kent Micronite or other asbestos cigarettes years ago, the fibers they inhaled could have started cellular changes that lead to mesothelioma much later in life.

The latency period underscores how important it is to regularly receive health monitoring if you have a history of asbestos exposure.

Compensation If You Were Exposed to Mesothelioma Through Cigarettes

If you’ve been exposed to asbestos through cigarettes and end up developing asbestos-related diseases, you may have compensation options available to you.

One avenue you can take for compensation is a personal injury lawsuit. If you’ve been harmed by asbestos exposure, you might be able to file a lawsuit against the tobacco company responsible for the manufacturing or distribution of the cigarettes.

Many asbestos manufacturers, which include some tobacco companies, have trust funds to provide compensation to people who were harmed by exposure. Trust funds are usually made as part of bankruptcies to make sure asbestos victims receive compensation.

If you believe you could have been harmed by asbestos exposure through cigarettes, you should talk with an experienced lawyer who specializes in asbestos litigation. We encourage you to contact us for a free consultation and to explore your options.

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