How Philip Morris started used ammonia to start smokers "freebasing" the nicotine in cigarette smoke
This is the abstract detailing the contents of the complete paper published in the July 2008, Vol 98, No. 7 American Journal of Public Health 1184-1194 - accessible only by being a member or by payment.
The SECRET and SOUL of Marlboro: Phillip Morris and the Origins, Spread, and Denial of Nicotine Freebasing by Terrell Stevenson, BA and Robert N. Proctor, PhD Terrell Stevenson is with the School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco. Robert N. Proctor is with the Department of History, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.
Philip Morris and other tobacco companies have been using ammonia in their manufacturing for more than half a century, and for a variety of purposes: to highlight certain flavors, to expand or "puff up" the volume of tobacco, to prepare reconstituted tobacco sheet ("recon"), to denicotinize (reduce the amount of nicotine in) tobacco, and to remove carcinogens.
By the early 1960s, however, Philip Morris had also begun using ammonia to "freebase" the nicotine in cigarette smoke, creating low-yield (reduced-tar or -nicotine) cigarettes that still had the nicotine kick necessary to keep customers "satisfied" (i.e., addicted). We show that Philip Morris discovered the virtues of freebasing while analyzing the impact of the ammoniated recon used in Marlboro cigarettes.
We also show how Marlboro’s commercial success catalyzed efforts by the rest of the tobacco industry to discover its "secret," eventually identified as ammonia technology, and how Philip Morris later exploited the myriad uses of ammonia (e.g., for flavoring and expanding tobacco volume) to defend itself against charges of manipulating the nicotine deliveries of its cigarettes.