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

Penn Medicine
Administration
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.
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.
SecondsCount.org
Administration
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.

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Quit Smoking

Smoking tobacco products can lead to severe health problems and even death. While quitting smoking can be very difficult for some smokers, there are smoking cessation programs and medications that can help smokers quit. There are ...

many lifelong benefits of doing so, like increased lung function and decreased risk of heart disease and cancer. Understanding the importance of quitting smoking and all options available to help stop smoking is key to long-term success.
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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.