By Andrew S. Wainwright, Esq.

Posted on Nov 19, 2013

An ad from 1955: “Only KENT gives you the scientific Micronite filter that takes out so much of the nicotine and tars.” (From the collection of Stanford University,

It is common knowledge that asbestos was used as insulation material – used in pipe coverings and cements. Less well-known, though, is that asbestos was incorporated into a wide variety of everyday construction and household items: paint, caulk, attic insulation, gardening supplies, makeup, and even crayons.

What is almost unknown, however, is that asbestos was once used as a “safety” feature in Kent cigarettes. In the 1950s, the Kent “Micronite” filter was featured in a wide array of the company’s advertisements with taglines like, “More scientists and educators smoke Kent with the Micronite Filter.” “You can SEE the proof of Kent’s health protection.” Those unfortunate enough to have smoked Kent Micronite cigarettes were not, as advertised, safer. Instead, they combined their exposure to cigarette smoke with asbestos exposure – inhaling through a filter made of asbestos.

In addition to the cigarette smokers of this era, workers who worked in factories manufacturing these filters were also put at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma.

This is because the Micronite filters were made with crocidolite (“blue”) asbestos. These filters were developed and manufactured in the early and mid-1950s by the specialty paper and filter manufacturer Hollingsworth & Vose, through its subsidiary H&V Specialties. The Micronite cigarette filter material was produced for Lorillard Tobacco Company. From March 1952 until at least May 1956, when Kent stopped its production, asbestos remained in Kent cigarettes. (The Kent Micronites are still sold today, but Kent now uses charcoal filters).

Hollingsworth & Vose manufactured this Micronite material at its Massachusetts plants in West Groton and Rochdale. The company also used asbestos in filters it manufactured for gas masks to be used by the U.S. military. Many workers who worked on or near the Micronite or gas mask projects were exposed to large amounts of asbestos.

The asbestos attorneys at Thornton Law Firm have represented workers from the Hollingsworth & Vose plants for many years. In doing so, they have gathered a vast amount of information concerning the use of asbestos in these facilities. We understand how important it is for you to secure legal representation as soon as possible after a diagnosis of mesothelioma. If you or a loved one were once employed at Hollingsworth & Vose and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, tell us your story here,  or give us a call at 1-888-632-0108. Asbestos claims are subject to short time limits. Call now to protect your legal rights.