1. What is a so called light cigarette?

    Tobacco manufacturers have been redesigning cigarettes since the 1950s. Certain redesigned cigarettes with the following features were marketed as light cigarettes

    • Cellulose acetate filters (to trap tar).
    • Highly porous cigarette paper (to allow toxic chemicals to escape).
    • Ventilation holes in the filter tip (to dilute smoke with air).
    • Different blends of tobacco.

    When analyzed by a smoking machine, the smoke from a so called light cigarette has a lower yield of tar than the smoke from a regular cigarette. However, a machine cannot predict how much tar a smoker inhales. Also, studies have shown that changes in cigarette design have not lowered the risk of disease caused by cigarettes (1).

    On June 22, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which granted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products. One provision of the new law bans tobacco manufacturers from using the terms light, low, and mild in product labeling and advertisements. This provision went into effect on June 22, 2010. However, some tobacco manufacturers are using color coded packaging (such as gold or silver packaging) on previously marketed products and selling them to consumers who may continue to believe that these cigarettes are not as harmful as other cigarettes (2 4).

  2. Are light cigarettes less hazardous than regular cigarettes?

    No. Many smokers chose so called low tar, mild, light, or ultralight cigarettes because they thought these cigarettes would expose them to less tar and would be less harmful to their health than regular or full flavor cigarettes. However, light cigarettes are no safer than regular cigarettes. Tar exposure from a light cigarette can be just as high as that from a regular cigarette if the smoker takes long, deep, or frequent puffs. The bottom line is that light cigarettes do not reduce the health risks of smoking.

    Moreover, there is no such thing as a safe cigarette. The only guaranteed way to reduce the risk to your health, as well as the risk to others, is to stop smoking completely.

    Because all tobacco products are harmful and cause cancer, the use of these products is strongly discouraged. There is no safe level of tobacco use. People who use any type of tobacco product should quit. For help with quitting, refer to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) fact sheet Where To Get Help When You Decide To Quit Smoking, which is available at on the Internet.

  3. Do light cigarettes cause cancer?

    Yes. People who smoke any kind of cigarette are at much greater risk of lung cancer than people who do not smoke (5). Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and diminishes a person s overall health.

    People who switched to light cigarettes from regular cigarettes are likely to have inhaled the same amount of toxic chemicals, and they remain at high risk of developing smoking related cancers and other disease (1). Smoking causes cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx (voice box), mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach, and cervix, as well as acute myeloid leukemia (6).

    Regardless of their age, smokers can substantially reduce their risk of disease, including cancer, by quitting.

  4. What were the tar yield ratings used by the tobacco industry for light cigarettes?

    Although no Federal agency formally defined the range of tar yield for light or ultralight cigarettes, the tobacco industry used the ranges shown in the table below (5, 7).

    Industry Terms on PackagesMachine measured Tar Yield (in milligrams)Ultralight or Ultralow tarUsually 7 or lessLight or Low tarUsually 8 14Full flavor or RegularUsually 15 or more

    These ratings were not an accurate indicator of how much tar a smoker might have been exposed to, because people do not smoke cigarettes the same way the machines do and no two people smoke the same way.

    Ultralight and light cigarettes are no safer than full flavor cigarettes. There is no such thing as a safe cigarette (1).

  5. Are machine measured tar yields misleading?

    Yes. The ratings cannot be used to predict how much tar a smoker will actually get because the way the machine smokes a cigarette is not the way a person smokes a cigarette. A rating of 7 milligrams does not mean that you will get only 7 milligrams of tar. You can get just as much tar from a light cigarette as from a full flavor cigarette. It all depends on how you smoke. Taking deeper, longer, and more frequent puffs will lead to greater tar exposure. Also, a smoker s lips or fingers may block the air ventilation holes in the filter, leading to greater tar exposure (7).

  6. Why would someone smoking a light cigarette take bigger puffs than with a regular cigarette?

    Cigarette features that reduce the yield of machine measured tar also reduce the yield of nicotine. Because smokers crave nicotine, they may inhale more deeply take larger, more rapid, or more frequent puffs or smoke extra cigarettes each day to get enough nicotine to satisfy their craving. As a result, smokers end up inhaling more tar, nicotine, and other harmful chemicals than the machine based numbers suggest (1).

    Tobacco industry documents show that companies were aware that smokers of light cigarettes compensated by taking bigger puffs. Industry documents also show that the companies were aware of the difference between machine measured yields of tar and nicotine and what the smoker actually inhaled (8).

  7. How can I get help to quit smoking?

    There are many groups that can help smokers quit

    • Go online to ( ), a Web site created by NCI s Tobacco Control Research Branch, and use the Step by Step Quit Guide.
    • Call NCI s Smoking Quitline at 1 877 44U QUIT (1 877 448 7848) for individualized counseling, printed information, and referrals to other sources.
    • Refer to the NCI fact sheet Where To Get Help When You Decide To Quit Smoking, which is available at on the Internet.

Would non-branded, plain-packaged cigarettes make you quit smoking? – read health related blogs, articles & news on healthcare at health.india.com

Marlboro maker altria taking e-cigs nationally – abc news

The British government is moving towards introducing plain packaging of cigarette packets and banning branding on them according to the BBC. As most anti tobacco campaigners around the world are aware, cigarette packs remain the tobacco companies last bastion for in your face advertising to lure consumers. The lure of the design of the cigarette packet was best explained in Guy Ritchie film Rocknrolla, where the protagonist Johnnie Quid, a druggie rocker explains to his friend exactly how cigarette packets lure you to smoke.

All you need to know about life is retained in those four walls. You will notice that one of your personalities is seduced by the illusions of grandeur the gold packet of king size with a regal insignia, an attractive implication towards grandeur and wealth, the subtle suggestion that cigarettes are indeed your royal and loyal friends, and that, Pete, is a lie. Your other personality is trying to draw your attention to the flip side of the discussion written in boring bold black and white, it’s a statement that these neat little soldiers of death are in fact trying to kill you and that, Pete, is the truth. Oh, beauty is a beguiling call to death and I’m addicted to the sweet pitch of its siren. That that starts sweet ends bitter, and that which starts bitter ends sweet.

The truth is that many, many children take up smoking because of the beautiful packaging of the cigarette packet. But would such a thing actually work? Anti tobacco campaigner Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi points out that it already has worked in Australia and caused a steep decline. He said It has worked very well in Australia. There is a steep decline in smoking and this strategy is one of the contributors. The cigarette companies in Australia have shut their factories. Legally, product package is the only advertising space left for cigarette industry. If that is also taken away, they will die slowly.

If it does go ahead, UK will become the first place in Europe to take this step. Shadow health secretary Luciana Berger told MPs There is an overwhelming body of evidence in favour of standardised packaging and there can be no excuse for a further delay.

Tobacco companies on the other hand will argue that standardised packaging could lead to smuggled cigarettes. The fact that Australia which became the first country to follow this legislation has little impact.

The situation in India

Smoking cigarettes constitutes a very small minority of tobacco use. In India that dubious honour goes to smokeless tobacco consumption, particularly among the lower socio economic groups. Dr Chaturvedi points out that smoking is just the tip of the iceberg. He said Estimates suggest that India has 35% tobacco users of which 21% chew tobacco, 9% smoke and 5% do both. Even amongst the smokers, only 3% are cigarette smokers. Like cigarettes, smokeless tobacco consumption was also aimed at the masses to make it seem cool . Tobacco was traditionally consumed in paan and this was never something cool for youngsters. So companies packaged them in gutka packets or as pan masala. Read more about how we can stop youngsters from taking up tobacco.

So will it work? We ll just have to wait and see.

You may also like to read

  • Quit smoking or die!
  • Health benefits of quitting
  • Did you know smoking can give you heart disease and strokes?
  • 200,000 children die from passive smoking every year!
  • WHO urges governments to watch out for tobacco industry interference
  • Smoking okay on screen, not in real life says Bollywood
  • Heart attacks, cancer on the rise in young smokers
  • Want to quit tobacco? Here s a helpline to your rescue!
  • Are tobacco less e cigarettes less harmful?
  • 10 facts about passive smoking
  • Why smoking is more dangerous for women

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