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New curing method lowers carcinogen level

06 Mar 2012. Star Scientific has been awarded a patent for a new method of curing tobacco that reduces nitrosamine formation that can cause cancer, the company announced.

A Notice  of Allowance was granted Jonnie Williams, chief executive and a founder of Star Scientific, by the US Patent and Trademark Office, the Virginia-based company said on 1 March. The method minimizes TSNA (tobacco-specific nitrosamine) in a controlled environment while most of the leaf is in a green, uncured state. Star Scientific said it is well suited for curing leaf used for smokeless tobacco products.

The significance of the decision cannot be overstated, said Paul Perito, chairman, president and chief operating officer. "The new tobacco curing technology developed by Mr. Williams now makes it possible to reduce the levels of a class of known carcinogenic toxins in cured tobacco to nearly undetectable levels.  We believe that the 2009 Tobacco Control Act requirement that tobacco companies list the harmful constituents in their products, when implemented, may encourage those companies to reduce toxins where the technology for those reductions is available." (ci)