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'Light' Cigarettes Could Be More Fatal Than Traditional Ones, New Review Suggests

May 24, 2017 10:54 AM EDT
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We know smoking causes cancer. But do you know why?
Cigarette Smoking
Light or filtered cigarettes are actually more fatal than the traditional, unfiltered ones
(Photo : Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

A new review revealed that "light" or filtered cigarettes, which are conceived to be a healthier choice for smokers, are actually more fatal than the traditional, unfiltered ones.

The review, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, showed a link between the increase demand of light cigarettes and a significant rise in the rate of lung adenocarcinoma-a type of tumor that strikes the deepest parts of the lungs.

"Smokers have been fooled because the smoother smoke made them think that the so-called "light" cigarettes were healthier, and they were advertised as being healthier," wrote Dr. Peter Shields, deputy director with the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Ohio State University and senior author of the review, in an article published in The Hill.

For the review, the researchers examined more than 3,284 published scientific literature regarding tobacco and internal research documents provided by tobacco companies.

Since its introduction in mid-1960, filter ventilation has been adopted by tobacco companies because it was initially equated with making cigarettes safer. Filtered cigarettes have holes that allegedly reduce the tar intake of smokers and allow more fresh air. However, the researchers observed an increase in the rates of lung adenocarcinoma in the past 50 years.

The researchers noted that the problem with filtered cigarettes lies in its holes. These ventilation holes could make the cigarette burn slower at a lower temperature, leading to more smoldering and more incomplete combustions. As a direct result of the slowed combustion, higher amount of toxic chemicals are produced.

Filtered cigarettes can also make smokers take in more puffs. Because users inhale more smoke, higher amounts of toxic chemical enters the lungs and reach areas where adenocarcinoma are more likely to develop.

With their findings, the researchers recommend FDA to conduct an investigation regarding the ventilation holes. If tobacco manufacturers are not able to show that the benefits of the ventilation holes outweigh its dangers, then FDA should ban the future use of ventilation holes.

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