Are “Light” Cigarettes Better for Your Health?
For many products, “light” implies a healthier version. While we all know that cigarettes are bad for you, does that mean “light” cigarettes are less bad for you than regular cigarettes? Read on to learn more.
What makes a cigarette “light”?
Light cigarettes are advertised as having lower levels of tar, nicotine or “other” inhaled chemicals, but the real difference between a light cigarette and a regular cigarette lies in the filter.
Light cigarettes have filters covered in white paper rather than the tan paper used in regular cigarettes. The white filter on the light cigarette has tiny holes punched in it, which causes the proportion of air in each drag of the cigarette to be higher than a drag on a regular cigarette. So for each puff, a smoker of a light cigarette inhales more air than a smoker of a regular cigarette.
Does light = healthier?
For cigarettes, no.
There is no evidence that switching to light cigarettes can help a smoker quit smoking or improve their health. Light cigarettes pose the same health risk as regular cigarettes.
Remember, there is no such thing as a “safe” cigarette; all tobacco products are harmful and can cause cancer. And because of the different filter, many smokers that switch to a light cigarette end up taking longer, deeper and more frequent puffs, so they may be getting just as much tar and nicotine as from a regular cigarette.
Is it still harmful?
Scientific evidence shows that switching from regular to “light” or “low tar” cigarettes does not reduce the health risks of smoking. Switching to this type of cigarette does not decrease the exposure to the nicotine, tar and carcinogens present in cigarette smoke. Use of these products is strongly discouraged. The only way to reduce the risk to your health, and the health of others, is to stop smoking completely.
Ready to quit?
Are you ready to quit? We’re ready to help! Ochsner’s Smoking Cessation Clinic's comprehensive smoking cessation program provides a risk-free way to quit smoking.
Schedule an appointment with Ochsner’s Smoking Cessation Clinic today.