Trace amounts of retinol, or vitamin A, a substance that improves eyesight, skin quality and general health in humans, were found in several production lots of filter cigarettes at the Rigget & Lyers tobacco plant in Coughlin, North Carolina.
The company immediately issued an apology and recalled more than 1,000,000 cartons that had already been delivered to its retail distribution chain. Only a few of the tainted cigarettes, which had been packaged under the brand names Stud and MountainAire, had actually reached the shelves.
A robot programmed to function as a spokesman for the tobacco industry because no humans are willing to stoop that low any more explained, "Rigget & Lyers deeply regrets this tragic error and apologizes to its customers, who have every right to expect uniform quality -- that is to say toxicity -- in the tobacco products they buy. We sincerely hope that the consumers' confidence has not been shaken by this regrettable incident. The situation is now under control and every conceivable measure is being taken to ensure that no beneficial substances of any kind ever again find their way into our products. Smokers across the country can breathe a sigh, possibly their last, of relief."