Now a Filter Made of Tobacco Itself
Brown and Williamson's All Tobacco Filter

As concerns about the health effects of cigarettes mounted in the mid 20th century, Brown and Williamson introduced a novel way to combat fears about tobacco… more tobacco.

1960-07-04 - Tobacco - Brown & Williamson Kentucky Kings - Now a Filter Made of Tobacco Itself

Now a Filter Made of Tobacco Itself

Brown & Williamson | Kentucky Kings
Tobacco
July 4, 1960

This is one of the all-time bizarre ads.

Alan Blum, Director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society

In the pantheon of ideas so crazy they HAVE to work, we can assume the All Tobacco Filter in Kentucky Kings Cigarettes is one of the crazy ideas that never worked. Touting golden tobacco, cut “filter fine”, the all tobacco filter promises to filter smoke naturally for an all tobacco taste.

Cigarette filters date back to 1925 when a Hungarian inventor, M. Boris Aivarz, applied for a patent designing a filter tip comprised of crepe paper, cellulose and a machine to manufacture the tips.¹ Cigarette filters came into wide use in the 1930s and became a staple of cigarette advertising alongside misleading variations and labels such as “low -tar”, “mild” and “light” cigarettes. Filters were introduced using a variety of materials such as, charcoal, cellulose acetate, perforated paper, and polypropylene glycol.² Deceptive testing practices provided results that demonstrated the effectiveness of filters, but ventilated filters not used in production cigarettes skewed the results in favor of cigarette manufacturers. Cigarette butts, which contain the filter, comprise the vast majority of tobacco waste and continue to pose a toxic hazard to the environment.

While Brown and Williamson’s all tobacco filter might seem absurd, consider that Kent’s Micronite Filter was developed using asbestos, a powerful carcinogen.³ Perhaps the All Tobacco Filter wasn’t that bad of an idea… still a bad idea, but not that bad.

¹ The History of Filters. www.tobaccoasia.com. https://web.archive.org/web/20030824115139/http://www.tobaccoasia.com/news.asp?id=534. Published August 24, 2003. Accessed March 27, 2019. Accessed via web.archive.org

² The Filter Fraud Debunking the Myth of “Safer” as a Key New Strategy of Tobacco Control. https://csts.ua.edu/files/2019/03/2018-Filter-Fraud-Poster-AB-Novotny.pdf. Published June 12, 2018. Alan Blum MD, Thomas E. Novotny MD MPH.

³ “Kent Micronite Filter Cigarette Advertisement and Cigarettes 1955”. https://csts.ua.edu/collections/best-of-collection/.