advertisement
25 March 2013

Cigarette 'relighting' on rise

Smokers reignite butts they would have previously thrown away, study finds.

0

Smokers are relighting used cigarette butts in an apparent response to tough economic times, according to a new study.

Although this tactic may save money for smokers, it doesn't benefit their health. Researchers cautioned that relighting cigarettes does not reduce exposure to harmful chemicals.

They said the trend could affect treatment strategies for tobacco dependence, such as medication dosages and counselling.

"Despite those engaging in the relighting practice smoking fewer cigarettes, there is no estimated reduction in their exposure to toxins," senior study author Michael Steinberg, director of the Tobacco Dependence Program at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, said in an institute news release.

"In fact, smokers who relight cigarettes may be at higher risk of lung cancer and chronic bronchitis. That is something of which policymakers need to be aware."

The study involved about 500 smokers seeking treatment from the Tobacco Dependence Program. Of these, 46% admitted to relighting cigarettes. This group smoked 16 cigarettes daily on average. Meanwhile, smokers who did not relight cigarettes smoked an average of 20 cigarettes each day.

What the study found

Women were more likely to relight cigarettes. Higher rates of relighting were also found among black people and those who were divorced, widowed or separated.

Those who started smoking at an early age, smoked menthol cigarettes or who said they wake up to smoke during the night are also more likely to relight cigarette butts.

The behaviour was also linked to unemployment, illness, disability and having less than a high school diploma.

"While the relighting of cigarettes is a relatively unexplored smoking behaviour, it was anticipated that certain economic characteristics, such as lower education and lack of employment, would be related to a higher level of relighting," Steinberg said.

"We were, however, surprised that women are more likely to engage in this practice than men. This needs further study."

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco in Boston. Data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about the health effects of cigarette smoking.

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Dangerous winter sun »

Why female students ignore the risks of indoor tanning Can rooibos protect you from the effects of UVB exposure?

Skin cancer always a risk – even in winter

During winter, the risk of skin cancer doesn’t disappear. CyberDoc talks to us about when to see your doctor about a strange-looking mole or spot.

Did you know? »

The 5 saltiest foods may surprise you Craving salt? Your genes may be the reason

10 fascinating facts about salt

The one thing that fast foods, whether it be chips, hamburgers, pretzels or fried chicken have in common, is loads of salt.