Think Light Cigarettes Are Better For You?
It is interesting that many smokers are choosing to smoke cigarettes labeled as "mild", "low-tar", or "light" in a bid to reduce the negative effects of smoking on their health. These labels lead a smoker to believe they are doing less damage to their bodies since the smoke they are inhaling is not as noxious as "regular" or "full-flavor" cigarettes. The fact is that light cigarettes are every bit as damaging and dangerous to a person's health as any other type of cigarette. They do not reduce health risks. If a person really wants to reduce the risk of serious health issues from smoking, the only way to effectively do so is by quitting.
Machines vs. People
Tobacco companies print information on their packaging of light cigarettes indicating numbers that are lower in tar and nicotine than regular cigarettes. These numbers are arrived at through the use of smoking machines that effectively smoke all brands of cigarettes identically. Since people smoke differently, these machines do not give accurate information about tar and nicotine ingestion. People do not smoke the same way as a smoking machine or each other. Everyone is different and smokes differently.
The smoking machines are fooled into reading the levels of tar and nicotine as being lower through a clever method used by tobacco companies. The companies designed the filters of light cigarettes to have little pinholes in them which dilute the smoke with air when the machines "puff" on them. As a result of the air, the machines read the tar and nicotine intake as being lower. Most smokers have no idea their cigarettes have these filter vents and usually cover them up with their fingers as they smoke, or the filters are covered by their lips as they inhale. This essentially converts the light cigarette into a regular cigarette without the smoker knowing what's happened.
How People Compensate
People crave nicotine, it's what causes the addiction in the first place. As a result, their smoking is very unlike that of a machine. They may inhale very deeply, take large, frequent drags on their cigarettes, or compensate for the light cigarettes by smoking a few extra cigarettes a day in order to satisfy their craving. Smokers end up taking in more tar, nicotine, and other poisons than the cigarette machine's levels indicate.
The National Cancer Institute Reports...
The National Cancer Institute published a report which established that light cigarettes are every bit as dangerous as regular cigarettes. It stated that people who switch to light from regular cigarettes inhale the same amount of poisons and chemicals as regular smokers and they are equally at high risk for diseases and cancers linked to smoking. Additionally, there is no proof that a move from regular to light cigarettes is helpful in the quitting process.
Do the tobacco companies know about this? Of course they do. They have piles of documentation showing that people who smoke light cigarettes compensate their craving by taking larger puffs. They also know about the discrepancies between machine-smoking and people-smoking. The marketing strategy is to get people to buy cigarettes and make them believe they aren't hurting themselves too badly. The fact remains that there is no such thing as a "safe" cigarette and the only proven method of risk reduction for smoking-related illness is to quit smoking.