Q: What are the light cigarettes?
A: Light cigarettes, also known as “low tar,” “mild,” or “ultra-light” cigarettes, contain special filters particularly designed to dilute cigarette smoke.
Q: Is there any recent news regarding light cigarettes?
A: Light cigarettes were recently the focus of federal lawsuits which were filed in US District Court. The plaintiffs claimed that tobacco companies misled them into thinking that light cigarettes were safer compared to regular cigarettes. The defendant tobacco companies disputed that the term “light” means a lighter-tasting cigarette, and smokers should understand the intended meaning of the word.
Q: Are light cigarettes healthier than “regular” or “full-flavor” cigarettes?
A: While light cigarettes might feel smoother and lighter on the throat and chest, they were not healthier and risks related to smoking were not reduced. Smokers who changed from regular cigarettes to light cigarettes would tend to inhale the same amount of damaging chemicals, and continued to have risks of developing cancers and other diseases related to smoking. Since there is no such thing as safe cigarette, the only way to lower the smoker’s health risks and the risks to others through second hand smoke, is to stop smoking.
Q: What does the tar and nicotine numbers found on cigarette packs mean?
A: Tar and nicotine produced numbers that acted as reference point for the quantity of tar and nicotine the smoker might inhale. The numbers were from smoking machines which “smoke” each brand of the cigarettes. But the numbers do not reveal the correct amount of smokers inhale because there is no two individuals smoke the same way.
Q: Why do the tar and nicotine numbers inaccurately show the actual amount that the smokers inhale?
A: One, smokers who are not machines, may inhale more deeply; take bigger, faster, or frequent puffs; or smoke several extra cigarettes every day. Hence, smokers inhale more tar, more nicotine, and other damaging chemicals compared to machine-based numbers would suggest.
Two, light cigarettes contain small pinholes on the filters. These “filter vents” dilute cigarette smoke with air when they are “puffed’ by smoking machines leading to artificially low measurements of tar and nicotine levels. However, the filter vents are placed within millimeters from the place where smokers put their fingers and lips. By impeding these vents, the light cigarette becomes regular cigarette.
Three, when the manufacturers of cigarettes increase the length of the paper wrap that covers the exterior of the cigarette filter, the number of puffs lowers during the machine test. The machine measures lesser tar and nicotine compared from what is available to the smokers.
Q: Can I file a lawsuit over the light cigarettes, or join the present suit?
A: Several light cigarette lawsuits were filed recently in federal court, with plaintiffs who were asserting that tobacco companies misled then into thinking that light cigarettes were safer alternative to regular cigarettes. If you or any of your family members suffered disease that might be associated to smoking light cigarettes, contact first your doctor or healthcare provider. Then, you can find an experienced lawyer to discuss your options and your rights to legal remedy for any injury caused by the light cigarettes.