28 Oct 2017

Do filters make smoking more deadly?

From This Way Up, 12:15 pm on 28 October 2017

"Without filters, the number of lethal lung cancers may be reduced, more smokers would quit because of the harsh taste, and fewer young people would start smoking." Kathryn Barnsley in The Conversation.

Smoking backlit

Smoking backlit Photo: (Dmitry Ermakov via unsplash.com)

Everybody knows that smoking can kill you. 

But could filtered cigarettes, touted and sold to us by the tobacco industry since the 1960s as a safer way to smoke, and still believed by many smokers to make their habit less dangerous, actually be making smoking even more deadly? 

The problem is that cigarette filters, especially the vented ones that make up the majority of filters sold in Australia and New Zealand today, encourage smokers to inhale more deeply to get the same nicotine hit, and they also reduce the harsh feeling in the throat caused when you inhale tobacco.

So smoking with filters is being linked to the development of some of the most deadly and aggressive cancers.

That's without even mentioning the environmental issues caused by many millions of cigarette butts ending up in our landfills and waterways every year. 

Kathryn Barnsley of the University of Tasmania's been reviewing the evidence for The Conversation.