Switching to Light Cigarettes Will Not help you Quit Smoking

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The Center of Disease Control (CDC) says that there are 44 million American smokers and many of these smokers are looking for ways to quit. Some smokers in an attempt to kick the habit are switching to “light” or “ultra light” to help their battle against nicotine, however, a new study suggests switching to a lighter cigarerette does not help.

A newly published study published in the November 2009 issue of Tobacco Control, analyzed survey data from about 31,000 smokers who were asked whether they had switched to a milder or low-tar brand of cigarettes and the reasons for the switch. It was discovered that smokers who switched from full flavor cigarettes for cigarettes that are lighter, made more attempts to kick the habit than other smokers who did not switch.

"It may be that smokers think that a lighter brand is better for their health and is therefore an acceptable alternative to giving up completely," Dr. Hilary Tindle of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who led the study.

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A quarter of the people in the study said they switched because of flavor but nearly 20 percent said they had switched for better flavor and the desire to smoke a less harmful cigarette, and as part of an effort to stop smoking completely.

Tindle’s team discovered that those who switched to lighter brands were 58 percent more likely to have tried to quit smoking between 2002 and 2003 than those who stuck with their brand. But they were 60 percent less likely to actually succeed in quitting.

"Forty-three percent of smokers reported a desire to quit smoking as a reason for switching to lighter cigarettes. While these individuals were the most likely to make an attempt, ironically, they were the least likely to quit smoking," Tindle said. Other research has shown that so-called low-tar cigarettes have just as much tar, nicotine and other compounds as regular cigarettes.

Switching to light cigarettes will not help you quit smoking, however, there are many safe products on the market and alternative therapies that can help smokers kick the habit.

Written by Tyler Woods Ph.D.
Tucson, Arizona
Exclusive to eMaxHealth

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