The first cigarette filters appeared in 1936 and were used in novelty cigarettes designed for women. Earlier all cigarettes were without filters. However, some companies added mouthpieces made of cork for women. They were called beauty tips and prevented lipstick from smearing.
In 1950s after the appearance of scientific reports on danger of smoking, tobacco companies started to add mouthpieces to almost all cigarettes. The latter were specially designed at Dow and DuPont laboratories. An RJ Reynolds chemist Claude Teague invented filter that turned from white to brown, providing comfort for smokers who thought that dangerous particles were kept from their lungs.
In 1952 the Kent Company started to equip its cigarettes with a filter that could suck particles out of the smoke. It advertised its cigarettes as being with greater protection than any other cigarettes. But those filters contained asbestos fibers that were even more dangerous than the tobacco smoke itself.
Philip Morris promised to make smoking safe with the help of diethylene glycol and laboratories tried to invent new fabrics to catch harmful particles. However, synthetic fabrics created problems. In 1960 scientists noticed that mouth pieces dispersed tiny fibers which were inhaled into the lungs when smoking.
Today you can buy cigarettes with non-toxic filters. Moreover, in order to maintain the cigarette’s kick tobacco companies use ventilation to dilute the smoke. But studies show that with perforated paper wrapper smokers inhale deeper to compensate.
Many companies still produce cigarettes with filters wrapped in paper that looks like cork – a reminder of times when the biggest worry about smoking was smeared lipstick. A big variety of filter-tipped cigarettes can be found in cheap cigarettes outlets.
Professor N. Proctor from Stanford says that filters are used to obscure danger of cigarettes. He thinks the only reason they are put on cigarettes is to save the cost of tobacco.
The most unusual cigarette filter was made of Parmesan cheese. Philip Morris had an idea of wetting the cigarettes and letting fungal spores grow. They expected the resulting fibers to have some filtering effect.