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This is how 'light' cigarettes increase lung cancer risk

India TV Lifestyle Desk New Delhi 22 May 2017, 18:35:40 IST
India TV Lifestyle Desk

If you like to smoke "light" or low-tar cigarettes, then this news is for you. The tobacco companies are fooling people by calling them the healthier or the light version of a fully loaded cigarette. According to a study, you may be at an increased risk of developing a certain form of lung cancer that occurs deep in the lungs.

Such cigarettes are high-ventilation which are generally considered to have a lighter, less pronounced flavour, lower levels of tar, nicotine, or other chemicals than regular cigarettes. They are thus marketed by the tobacco industry as a "healthier" option.

Do you know it is illegal in US and UK to brand certain cigarettes as low tar or light? Well yes, even in UK all packs that are sold are in green colour. The risk is more as these cigarettes actually contribute to the rise of lung adenocarcinoma -- the most common type of lung cancer, according to researchers. 

The findings, appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, showed that the higher incidence rates of lung adenocarcinoma were attributable to the filter ventilation holes, which allow smokers to inhale more smoke that also has higher levels of carcinogens, mutagens and other toxins.

"The filter ventilation holes change how the tobacco is burned, producing more carcinogens, which then also allow the smoke to reach the deeper parts of the lung where adenocarcinomas more frequently occur," said Peter Shields from Ohio State University.

Holes in cigarette filters were introduced 50 years ago and were claimed to be safer.

"This was done to fool smokers and the public health community into thinking that they actually were safer," Shields said.

"Our study suggests a clear relationship between the addition of ventilation holes to cigarettes and increasing rates of lung adenocarcinoma seen over the past 20 years. What is especially concerning is that these holes are still added to virtually all cigarettes that are smoked today," he added.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should take immediate action, possibly banning use of ventilation holes on cigarettes, the researchers urged. 

Some countries are taking initiatives to urge people to quit smoking. UK is definitely the global leader in tobacco control. The UK was the second country in the world to pass legislation on standardised packaging after Australia in 2012, and now France, Ireland, Hungary and Norway are also in line. 

(With IANS inputs)