Smokers may have noticed their favorite brand sporting a new look. Under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, tobacco manufacturers are no longer permitted to use such terms as “low,” “light” or “mild” in describing various brands of cigarettes. That is because many consumers believe that so-called light cigarettes are not as hazardous to our health as regular cigarettes.
For example, Marlboro Lights, the nation’s best-selling brand, from Philip Morris, is now known as Marlboro Gold. Marlboro Ultralights are now known as Marlboro Silver.
But there’s no such thing as a safe cigarette. In fact, the government says smokers of light cigarettes could be less motivated to quit in the mistaken belief that their brand is less harmful.
Although light cigarettes typically contain less tar, smokers who take long, deep or frequent puffs receive the same amount of tar as they would from a regular cigarette, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The fact is there is no measurable reduction in health risks.
Light cigarettes contribute to lung cancer and a number of other cancers, as well as emphysema and heart disease. They also create secondhand smoke, which makes other people sick. That also applies to other design changes, such as different size and density filters, ventilation holes to dilute the amount of smoke, and chemical additives to the paper and tobacco. Not one of these variations results in safer cigarettes, the CDC says.
The bottom line is 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke each year. Another 8.6 million suffer from a serious illness caused by tobacco. Some smokers say they switched to milder cigarettes as a transition to eventually kicking the habit. The CDC says there is no evidence that light cigarettes can help people who want to quit to taper off smoking.
Cigarette manufacturers are now designating so-called light smokes in other ways, such as labeling the variation as “silver” or “gold” or packaging the cigarettes in lighter colors. Don’t be fooled. It’s the same deadly product with a different label.
As a leader in health care, Christiana Care isn’t light or mild about helping employees to quit smoking. Employees and their dependents over age 18 to who want to kick the habit can receive free medications that have been proven to make quitting less stressful and more successful. Employees also can talk about their concerns in compassionate, face-to-face counseling.
To learn more, visit the Smoking Cessation page on our website. Or contact the toll-free Delaware Quitline at 866-409-1858.