Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Want to quit smoking? Switching to mild cigarettes will NOT improve your chances

Smokers who hope to kick the habit by first switching to a low-tar or mild brand of cigarette may actually find it harder to quit, researchers said today.

They found that smokers who traded to light cigarettes were 50 per cent less likely to kick the habit.

'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,' said study author Dr Hilary Tindle from the University of Pittsburgh.

Her study of 31,000 smokers found that 12,000, or 38 per cent, had switched to a lighter brand.

Nearly half of these said they had switched brands because they wanted to smoke a less harmful cigarette and hoped to give up smoking completely.

And although they were far more likely to have tried quitting between 2002 and 2003, they were 60 per cent less likely to actually succeed, according to Dr Tindle's team.

'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,' Dr Tindle said.

Research published in The Lancet revealed smokers compensate for low tar cigarettes by taking deeper puffs more often.

And a study in the British Medical Journal found all current smokers had a far greater risk of lung cancer than people who had never smoked no matter what the tar level of their brand.

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