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12 January 2009

‘Light’ or ‘mild’ cigarettes

‘Safer’ cigarettes, such as low tar, filtered or menthol cigarettes aren’t really safer. Their health benefits are minor, and are often counteracted by how they are smoked.

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‘Safer’ cigarettes, such as low tar, filtered or menthol cigarettes aren’t really safer. Their health benefits are minor, and are often counteracted by how they are smoked.

If a cigarette with low tar and nicotine content or a better filter is smoked in exactly the same manner as a standard cigarette, the negative effects will be less. But when smokers change to ‘mild’ brands, they often smoke more to get the same nicotine dose as before, often without realising they’re doing so. A mild cigarette can be as harmful as a stronger brand if you take deeper drags, inhale more frequently or smoke cigarettes to a shorter butt length. Some smokers hold the filter on ‘light’ cigarettes to cover the holes that allow extra airflow to thin the smoke. Others end up simply smoking more cigarettes. Even if you smoke in exactly the same way as before, the health benefits are very small compared to the benefits of giving up.

Also, smoking mild cigarettes is still smoking: you’re reinforcing the habit, and will be more likely to smoke other cigarette brands if mild brands aren’t available.

Menthol cigarettes produce a cooler sensation in the throat when smoke is inhaled. But this may make them more damaging than standard brands, because they allow you to inhale more deeply and hold the smoke in your lungs for longer.

Read more:
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Cigars and pipe tobacco

 
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