In 1952 most brands of cigarette did not have filters. After a series of articles in ‘Readers Digest’ which were entitled ‘Cancer by the carton’ the cigarette manufacturers were looking for a way to reassure the public and to increase sales.
Although many brands introduced filters to their cigarettes’ and publicised these as a safety enhancement only one company went that extra mile to introduce the ‘micronite filter’. The manufacturer was ‘Kent’.
In the early 1950’s the dangers of asbestos were not highly publicised and asbestos was still seen as a natural wonder and a source of new and improved technology. Kent decided that the introduction of Blue Asbestos (Crocidolite) into their cigarette filters would enhance their protective ability’s and help to protect the public from the dangers of smoking whilst at the same time improving sales.
Kent micronite cigarettes become hugely popular and a large scale marketing campaign which saw magazines, papers and moving image adverts was launched.
With tag lines like ‘takes out up to 7 times more nicotine and tars – leaves in full, rich flavour’ millions of Kent Micronite Cigarettes’ were sold from 1952 to 1956.
After some negative publicity the makers of Kent Micronite Cigarettes commissioned two separate studies using electron microscopy to show that no Blue Asbestos (Crocidolite) fibres were entering smokers lungs. Unfortunately the studies revealed the opposite.
It was shown that the first two puffs through the micronite filter released 3.4 million Blue Asbestos structures or clumps of fibre. In conclusion a smoker who consumed one pack of Kent Micronite Cigarettes’ per day for a year would inhale 1.242 billion such structures. Kent Cigarettes with the revolutionary Blue Asbestos Micronite Filters were discontinued in 1956!