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Smoking and Tobacco

Types of Cigarettes

05/24/2001

Question:

Are Ultra-Light brands `better` than Lights? And are lights `better` than regular? I know better is a horrible thing to say about cigarettes.. But are there varying degrees of Nicotine and Carcinogens? If I want to quit smoking, can I wean myself off by going from regulars to lights then from lights to ultra-lights and then go cold turkey? Keeping in mind that I will not smoke more cigarettes per day than I do now.

Answer:

It is excellent that you are planning to quit smoking! There are a number of strategies to help in that process. Reduction is one mechanism, but smokers tend to smoke light cigarettes differently and "compensate". While the number of cigarettes may be the same, the way an individual smokes the cigarette - faster or deeper puffing - changes to adjust for the cigarette content. In a recently released (2001) book entitled "Cigarettes, Nicotine and Health: A Biobehavioral Approach," Kozlowski and colleagues have included a chapter on low-tar, light cigarettes lessons from a dangerous boondoggle. These are not safer cigarettes. For example, in Denmark, the label "light" can no longer be used on cigarette packaging as it may imply a safer product. This should not stop you from your quit attempt - identify a quit date in the next two weeks and work toward that. A website describing the latest recommendations on counseling and medications to assist in smoking cessation can be found at www.surgeongeneral.gov/tobacco

Related Resources:

The Virtual Office of the Surgeon General

For more information:

Go to the Smoking and Tobacco health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Karen L Ahijevych, PhD, RN, FAAN Karen L Ahijevych, PhD, RN, FAAN
Professor, College of Nursing
Professor, College of Public Health
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University