Filtering Out The Bad Stuff?

But, It's Really Not As Bad

We all have ways to cope and ways we try to trick ourselves into believing that what we're doing is really okay-we won't be hurt by it. That goes for smoking as well. Even though smokers know the inherent dangers of the habit, by rationalizing, they can make it okay.

One of the ways smokers accomplish this "sleight of mind" is to choose "low-tar", or "light" cigarettes. They think that light cigarettes may be less damaging to their health than "regular" or "full-flavor" cigarettes. It follows because the smoke from light cigarettes tends to feels smoother and lighter in the chest and throat-at least that's the thinking. Is it correct? No.

The Numbers On The Package Are Lower-How Can That Be?

As a matter of fact, light cigarettes do not lessen health risks from smoking. If you are really intent on reducing risk to your health from smoking, then not smoking at all is the right answer.

The packaging and advertising of light cigarettes shows a lower number for tar and nicotine, which is actually deceptive. These numbers are the result of tests done on smoking machines that "smoke" all cigarettes exactly the same way. However, they cannot tell how much tar and nicotine a smoker gets because each smoker smokes differently, not in the way a machine smokes. There is also another catch.

The filters created by tobacco companies for light cigarettes have tiny holes in them which act as vents for the smoke. These vents dilute the smoke as it comes out of the lit cigarette when it is puffed on by the smoking machine and in this way the numbers are affected and appear lower in both tar and nicotine. How many smokers know about these holes in the filters? When the cigarette is smoked on the machine, the holes are uncovered, thus there is ventilation. When a smoker actually holds a cigarette, his or her fingers and lips unknowingly block the ventilation, making the cigarette a regular smoke.

People Are Not Machines, They Do Things Differently

Smokers, unlike machines, often crave nicotine and thus, when they draw on a cigarette they tend to draw and inhale more deeply. They take larger, more frequent puffs and usually smoke more "light" cigarettes a day in order to have their nicotine craving satisfied. This type of compensation means more tar, nicotine and other chemicals are inhaled than the advertising and packaging suggests. Another method some cigarette companies employ is the use of thinner paper which burns faster thus ensuring the smoking machine gets in fewer puffs before the cigarette is burned down. Again, the numbers appear less as a result.

At The End Of The Day...

Light cigarettes have been determined by the National Cancer Institute to be of no benefit to smokers' health and the NCI reported that people who switch from regular to light cigarettes are likely inhale the same amount of chemicals as regular cigarette smokers. They are also at high risk for the same diseases and cancers as other smokers.