Cigarette giants Philip Morris USA may have altered data on the harmful effects of cigarettes, according to an independent study conducted by the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).

The study, which was published in the journal PLoS Medicine, found a 2002 Philip Morris report called “Project Mix” obscured the toxicity levels in their cigarettes and minimized the risk of cancer, heart disease and other smoking related illnesses.

The Philip Morris report detailed chemical analyses of smoke and animal toxicology studies of 333 cigarette additives

The study also revealed that Philip Morris added further toxins to cigarettes after they released their “Project Mix” report, thus, underreporting the true toxin levels of their products.

“We discovered these post-hoc changes in analytical protocols after the industry scientists found that the additives increased cigarette toxicity by increasing the number of fine particles in the cigarette smoke that cause heart and other disease,” explained Dr. Stanton A. Glantz, professor of medicine of UCSF, and lead study author.

“When we conducted our own analysis by studying additives per cigarette, following Philip Morris’ original protocol, we found that 15 carcinogenic chemicals increased by 20 percent or more,” he added.

UCSF researchers suggest new protocols be established for when cigarette companies release product data.

Glantz also suggested the reason Philp Morris failed to specify all of the toxic effects in their animal studies was simply because their study and the amount of animals weren’t big enough.

“The experiment was too small in terms of the number of rats analyzed to statistically detect important changes in biological effects,” he concluded.

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