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Are low-tar cigarettes, or “light” cigarettes, healthier than regular ones?

The bottom line is that all cigarettes are harmful to your health, even the low-tar ones. The filters in low-tar cigarettes (also sometimes called “mild” or “light” or “ultra-light” cigarettes) often include vent holes, which are meant to draw in air with each puff to dilute the harmful smoke that is inhaled. But smokers often end up covering these holes with their fingers or lips.
Additionally, research has shown that smokers who use a reduced-tar cigarette compensate by taking longer puffs, more frequent puffs, or smoking more cigarettes per day. Drawing more deeply with each breath may allow even more dangerous chemicals into the lungs than regular cigarettes do.
Frank T. Leone, MD
Pulmonary Disease
Many smokers are misled into thinking that light cigarettes are not as harmful as other brands. Indeed, light cigarettes are lower in nicotine than regular cigarettes, but they contain the same 4,000 harmful chemicals, including 400 cancer-causing chemicals. The “light” effect is achieved through air dilution using ventilation holes near the filter. Regular smokers who switch to these low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes tend to compensate by smoking more cigarettes, inhaling more deeply or covering up the ventilation holes.
There are no safe cigarettes. Many smokers are mislead into thinking that light cigarettes are not as harmful as other brands. Light cigarettes are lower in nicotine than regular cigarettes, but they contain the same 4,000 harmful chemicals, including 400 cancer-causing chemicals. The light effect is achieved through air dilution using ventilation holes near the filter. Regular smokers who switch to these low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes tend to compensate by smoking more cigarettes, inhaling more deeply and covering up the ventilation holes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.