If you switched to light cigarettes, hoping it would help you cut down, chances are you’re still smoking! According to MSN Health and Fitness, people who switch from regular smokes to lights are 46 percent less likely to quit smoking. The information comes from a new survey published in the journal, Tobacco Control. They took a look at the habits of more than 30,000 smokers, many of whom had switched to lights in the past year. They found that about 43% of them switched because they thought lights had less tar and nicotine than regular cigarettes, and they’re hoping, that smoking a light cigarette will help wean them off their addiction.
However, studies show that switchers not only don’t cut down, they’re half as likely to quit as other smokers. Why? The author of the study, Dr. Hilary Tindle, says switchers are so convinced they’re smoking a healthier cigarette, that they decide there’s no need to quit at all. They think they’re getting fewer carcinogens and won’t have to deal with the health effects of smoking. There’s a big problem with that logic. Despite the name “lights,” these cigarettes aren’t any healthier. In fact, lights have the exact same ingredients as regular cigarettes, and are just as carcinogenic and deadly.
So why can companies claim they have lower levels of tar and nicotine? Well, according to the National Cancer Institute, the carcinogens in cigarettes are tested by smoking machines, and tobacco companies trick those machines into thinking levels are lower in some cigarettes. How? They prick tiny pinholes around the filter of light cigarettes. That lets some of the smoke escape during testing, which causes the machine to have an artificially low reading. When an actual person smokes those same cigarettes their fingers cover up the pinholes, giving them a full dose straight to the lungs. Bottom line is switching doesn’t help you quit. The best thing is to go cold turkey. For tips on how to quit smoking go to SmokeFree.gov.