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The Palladium cigarette was a safer cigarette project, a decades-long effort carried out by the Liggett & Myers tobacco company called Project XA. Liggett started [Project XA]] in the 1950s, shortly after the first published research started emerging that definitively linked smoking to disease.
Liggett hired the A.D. Little Company to try and replicate the mouse-skin painting tests carried out by Ernst L. Wynder in the 1950s that resulted in tumors being produced. Little was able to replicate the test and its results. Shortly after, Liggett started to pursue a safer cigarette.
Project XA, which was headed by James D. Mold, involved adding palladium nitrate to tobacco, which decreased the total tumoricenicity of the smoke without leaving a residual level of palladium in the blood stream when tested on animals.
The palladium additive worked as a catalyst, resulting in more thorough combustion of the byproducts of burned tobacco, much like palladium spark plugs cause more thorough combustion of gasoline in a car engine. The result was smoke that contained fewer tumorigenic substances than a traditional cigarette.
Liggett carried the project to completion, and by 1978 had stocked large amounts of palladium to start commercial manufacture of the cigarettes. Ultimately Liggett pulled the plug on the project, allegedly due to threats from other tobacco companies. The companies allegedly threatened to pull the industry's jointly-funded defense from Liggett if they should market the XA cigarette, amid the fear that such a safer product would indict all other "traditional cigarettes" as being unsafe.
Evidence about Liggett's Project XA was introduced for the first time to the public during the trial of Rose Defrancesco Cipollone.
- News and Record Crafting a Safer Smoke Publication. September 27, 1992. Bates No. 202318041/8043.
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