The Scoop on ‘Light’ Cigarettes. Part 2

The way that your body makes up for the lower amounts of nicotine is called compensation. For example, after you switch to one of the “lighter” brands, your brain will compensate by telling your lungs to inhale each puff more deeply, take more puffs off each cigarette, or to hold each puff longer than usual. Your body does these things automatically, so that you can get the same levels of nicotine from the “lighter” brands as when you were smoking your regular cigarettes.

Another reason why the “light” brands are just as dangerous has to do with their filters. Filters are designed with tiny holes that act like air vents. When a person puffs, fresh air is supposed to travel through these vents and dilute the cigarette smoke, making it safer. However, your lips and fingers cover the air vent holes, preventing any fresh air from being brought in. The bottom line is that the air vents and filters are just advertising tricks used to fool you into thinking you are smoking a healthier cigarette.

If you are trying to quit by reducing the amount of tar and nicotine you are exposed to, know that “light” cigarettes really don’t deliver lower amounts of tar and nicotine. And be aware of how your body will compensate when you smoke a “light” brand. It is a good idea to consider using nicotine replacement therapies, such as the nicotine patch and gum. There is also a quit smoking pill available called Zyban. You can learn much more about how to quit smoking successfully by exploring our Web site and by participating in one of our chats.

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