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Cigarettes may contain pig blood: Australian expert

world Updated: Apr 01, 2010 10:18 IST

IANS
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Cigarettes may contain traces of pig blood which, if confirmed, can lead to protests against tobacco companies that refuse to disclose the ingredients used in making the product, an Australian expert was quoted by Pakistan's Online news agency as saying.

A study conducted in the Netherlands has identified 185 different industrial uses of the pig, including the use of its haemoglobin in cigarette filters, which religious groups could find to be "very offensive", Simon Chapman, professor of public health at the University of Sydney, said in Islamabad Wednesday.

The research offered an insight into the "otherwise secretive world" of cigarette manufacture and was likely to raise concerns for devout Muslims and Jews, Chapman said.

Religious texts at the core of both of these faiths specifically ban the consumption of pork, he said.

"I think that there would be some particularly devout groups who would find the idea that there were pig products in cigarettes to be very offensive.

"The Jewish community certainly takes these matters extremely seriously and the Islamic community certainly do as well, as would many vegetarians. It just puts into hard relief the problem that the tobacco industry is not required to declare the ingredients of cigarettes... they say 'that's our business' and a trade secret," he said.

The research found out that haemoglobin (a blood protein) from pigs was being used to make cigarette filters more effective at trapping harmful chemicals before they could enter a smoker's lungs.

Though tobacco companies list the contents of their products on their websites, they also refer to undisclosed "processing aids" that are not significantly present in, and do not functionally affect, the finished product, he said.

This term hides from public view an array of chemicals and other substances used in the making of tobacco products, he said.

At least one cigarette brand sold in Greece was confirmed as using pig haemoglobin in its processes, he said.