Asbestos in Cigarette Filters Explained
Asbestos was widely used throughout the 20th century across many industries and occupations. Companies added asbestos to many products, threatening the health of unsuspecting consumers and workers.
One of the ways that the heat-resistant and insulation properties of asbestos were applied in consumer products was in certain brands of cigarettes.
Kent, an American brand of cigarettes, was introduced to the market by Lorillard Tobacco Company in 1952. They were hailed as the first filtered cigarette. Consumers bought them in droves thanks to the positive health connotations associated with the micronite filter.
Cigarette Brands Claimed Asbestos Was for Health
In the first four years of manufacturing, Kent sold 13 billion cigarettes thanks to their promise of ‘the greatest health protection ever’ in a cigarette. It was later discovered that the cigarettes used carcinogenic crocidolite (blue) asbestos, which was being directly inhaled by smokers.
Lorillard changed the material to acetate in 1956 after complaints. But even in the 1990s, people were diagnosed with mesothelioma linked to smoking Kent cigarettes in the 1950s.
Lawsuits are still being filed today, with a Florida judge recently awarding over $3.5 million in damages to a former Kent smoker.