Low-Tar Cigarettes Not Any Better

Everyone knows of the health hazard that smoking causes. However, some believe that smoking low-tar cigarettes may not be as bad. A recent study reported by the London Associated Press on January 9, 2004, disputed this notion. According to the first study comparing lung cancer deaths among smokers of ultra-light, mild and medium filtered cigarettes, low-tar cigarettes do not carry a lower risk of lung cancer.

The study published in the January 10, 2004 British Medical Journal was conducted by scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the American Cancer Society. Researchers examined the link between the tar rating of the cigarette smoked in 1982 and deaths from lung cancer in the subsequent six years among 940,774 Americans over the age of 30 who were smokers, former smokers or had never smoked.

The results of the study found no difference in the lung cancer death rate among those who smoked the medium filtered cigarettes and those who used mild or ultra light varieties. Researcher Michael Thun, epidemiology chief at the American Cancer Society, states, "There was not a shred of evidence of reduced risk. The ultra light haven't been used as long as the light and it is possible that some difference in risk might emerge with longer term use of the ultra light, but this is very, very solid for the low tar."

Tim Lord, chief executive of the London-based Tobacco Manufacturers Association, said. "This was not a dastardly plot by the tobacco industry to launch products on health claims," Lord said. "We never claimed it to be safer and we did it at the request of the government. We were even asked to spend more of our advertising and promotional pounds to promote the lighter products than the stronger products."