Accuracy of the FTC Tar and Nicotine Cigarette Rating System

November 13, 2007

253 SR

The Committee will examine the accuracy of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) tar and nicotine cigarette rating system and the marketing claims of cigarette companies based on these ratings.

The FTC has raised concerns about its testing methods and has admitted in prior Congressional testimony that its “ratings tend to be relatively poor predictors of tar and nicotine exposure,” noting how machine-measured tar and nicotine ratings are not an accurate reflection of tar and nicotine intake. The Committee will also review the FTC’s jurisdiction over deceptive marketing and advertising practices.

The Committee will explore tobacco companies’ marketing of light cigarettes to Americans, the use of “light” and “ultra light” in cigarette manufacturers’ advertising practices, and the public health implications of changes in cigarette design.


Majority Statement

  • Frank R. Lautenberg


Minority Statement

  • Ted Stevens


Witness Panel 1

  • The Honorable William E. Kovacic

    Federal Trade Commission
  • Dr. Cathy Backinger

    Acting Chief, Tobacco Control Research Branch
    National Cancer Institute
  • Dr. David L. Ashley

    Chief of Emergency Response and Air Toxicants, Branch for the Division of Laboratory Sciences
    National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    Ashley Testimony (45.90 KB)

Witness Panel 2

  • Dr. Jonathan M. Samet

    Professor and Chairman, Department of Epidemiology
    Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
    Samet Testimony (121.95 KB)
  • Dr. Jack Henningfield

    Professor, Adjunct, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
    Vice President, Research and Health Policy, Pinney Associates
  • Dr. Marvin Goldberg

    Bard Professor of Marketing, Smeal College of Business
    Penn State University
  • Mr. Stephen Sheller

    Founder and Managing Partner
    Sheller, P.C.
    Sheller Testimony (145.54 KB)