Harm Caused By Smoking Light and Ultra Light Cigarettes

The utilization of light and ultra light cigarettes has increased significantly following their induction many years ago. Most of the cigarettes presently found in the U.S. market are those labeled as light and ultra light, and they comprise about 82% of the market share. These types of cigarettes are marketed to attract smokers who are concerned about their health and illustrated as a substitute for quitting. Sadly, light cigarettes do not lessen the harmful effect of smoking. Three groups of individuals are accountable for the damage caused by smoking light and ultra light cigarettes. Tobacco firms are the most responsible, followed by individual smokers and the least on the list is the government or regulatory agencies.

Tobacco companies are the most responsible for the harm emanating from smoking light and ultra light cigarettes. The firms advertise these products to lure smokers by stating that they produce significant decreases in toxic exposure and have less health risks to smokers. On the contrary, the supposed health benefits as well as reduced risks from smoking light and ultra light cigarettes have not been attained. Epidemiological evidence reveal that smoking light and ultra light cigarettes has insignificant or no health benefit. Both light and regular cigarette smokers are at a higher risk of developing lung cancer, cardiovascular illness, and death rates related to smoking (Shiffman et al. 17).

Tobacco companies have failed to give smokers correct information concerning the health hazards of light and ultra light cigarettes. As a result, the majority of smokers trust wrong information regarding the health risks of such products, which makes it difficult for them to stop consuming them. The companies’ facts on nominal tar and nicotine amounts are misleading and not educative.  They misinform smokers about the correct meaning of tar yield figures by stating that they yield low levels of tar and nicotine (Shiffman et al. 17). They have convinced smokers that light cigarettes do not harm their health compared to regular ones. Publicity of light and ultra light cigarettes continue to mislead many smokers (Shiffman et al. 21). The figures are ascertained through the utilization of smoking machines, which smoke each kind of cigarettes in a similar manner. Such figures do not entirely predict the level of tar as well as nicotine a smoker can obtain since individuals do not smoke cigarettes in a similar manner as

machines. Besides, people do not smoke in the same way. Despite realizing the disparity between the amounts of tar and nicotine from machines and the real levels that smokers inhale, nothing has been done about it. The firms also understand that those who smoke light cigarettes compensate by consuming deeper puffs, taking many cigarettes daily, or smoking them immensely. However, they have not informed smokers about the compensation effect (Benowitz 1381).

Many smokers maintain that they smoke light and ultra-light cigarettes but not regular ones because of reduced levels of tar that generate less nicotine, making them less risky and easing the process of quitting. Therefore, they believe that light and ultra light cigarettes are less damaging compared to regular ones, which is not true. Research indicates that smokers wrongly process and make conclusions from advertised tar and nicotine figures. Most of them do not correctly assess the corresponding tar amounts of cigarettes. They underestimate the concentrations of tar on their brands due to explanations like “light” and “mild,” which denote reduced tar levels. Notwithstanding proof that health benefits are modest or insignificant, smokers approximate that lights cigarettes offer 25% decrease in danger and ultra lights present 33% decrease in danger compared to regular cigarettes (Shiffman et al.  17). Many smokers suppose that light and ultra light cigarettes minimize the level of tar by factors of two (lights) or three (ultra lights). Declines of these amounts are not presented continuously even in approximations taken from smoking machine tests through the utilization of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) method, which is known for misinforming smokers and underrating real human exposures (Shiffman et al.  21).

Smokers, misconceptions regarding delivery features and wellbeing of light and ultra light cigarettes are intentional because the tobacco industry documents show that such products and their promotion crusades are intended for attracting smokers and making them believe that the products are safe. The smokers also think that the products are less harsh to smoke. They prefer them because of their alleged mildness (Shiffman et al. 21).

The United States government and regulatory agencies have been unconsciously complicit in the cigarette company’s deceit for a long time. The agencies endorsed the FTC test for tar as well as nicotine levels even when it was apparent that the test results were not related to real exposure to toxins originating from tobacco (Shiffman et al.  21). The FTC recently renounced the meaning of these figures and the technique used in arriving at such numbers. Nevertheless, the majority of smokers are still deceived. The government has failed to establish monitoring measures to ensure that these cigarettes are not harmful to the smokers’ health. The regulatory agencies have not taken any action concerning mortality cases that emanate from smoking (Shiffman et al. 22).

The regulatory oversight is required to remediate the damage emanating from this persistent deceit. New regulatory outlines should be developed to decrease further the machine measured tar amounts of cigarettes. The directives need to abolish the utilization of various words, for example, “Light” and “low tar” that enhance the wrong feeling propagated by such marketing terms. Smokers can only minimize the risks of illnesses associated with cigarettes by quitting smoking entirely. No brand of cigarette is safe for an individual’s health.



Works Cited

Benowitz, Neal L., et al. “Carcinogen exposure during short-term switching from regular to “light” cigarettes.” Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers 14.6 (2005): 1376-1383.

Shiffman, Saul, et al. “Smokers’ beliefs about “Light” and “Ultra Light” cigarettes.” Tobacco control 10.suppl 1 (2001): i17-i23