Don’t Switch to ’Lights’ to Quit Smoking, Researchers Say
Switching to so-called light cigarettes won’t improve your health or help you quit smoking, experts say.
Reuters reported Nov. 3 that researchers led by Hilary Tindle of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that smokers who switched from their usual brand to a “light,” “low-tar” or “mild” product were half as likely to quit smoking than those who stuck with their normal smokes.
“It may be that smokers think that a lighter brand is better for their health and is therefore an acceptable alternative to giving up completely,” Tindle said.
Tindle and colleagues studied 31,000 smokers and found that 38 percent had switched to a “lighter” brand. Some said they switched because they felt “light” cigarettes were less harmful or would help them quit smoking.
Switchers were 58 percent more likely to have tried to quit smoking, but 60 percent less likely to succeed than those who kept smoking their usual brand. “Forty-three percent of smokers reported a desire to quit smoking as a reason for switching to lighter cigarettes. While these individuals were the most likely to make an attempt, ironically, they were the least likely to quit smoking,” Tindle said.
The research was published in the journal Tobacco Control.