P.M. BRIEFING : Nicotine-Free Cigarette Tested

<i> From Times wire services</i>

Philip Morris Cos., hoping to achieve a success that has eluded other tobacco firms, is testing consumer reaction to a new nicotine-free cigarette.

In its edition today, the weekly Advertising Age trade journal said Philip Morris is mailing samples of the new product, known as Merit Free, to smokers.

Nicotine is considered one of the most noxious and addicting components of cigarette smoke, and reducing its content has been a focus of tobacco company marketing efforts for years.

Philip Morris already produces and sells a line of low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes under the Merit name, including an Ultra Light brand that contains 0.4 milligrams of nicotine per cigarette, according to Federal Trade Commission figures. That compares with 1.1 milligrams of nicotine in each Marlboro, Philip Morris’ most popular brand.


There are other cigarettes, however, even lower in nicotine than Merits.