Low-tar cigarette smokers half as likely to quit says research

In collaboration with the Press Association

Smokers of "light" low tar and nicotine cigarettes are half as likely to kick the habit as other smokers, say scientists.

Researchers blamed the low quit-rate on false perceptions of reduced health risks. A third of those who smoked "lights" said that they did so for health reasons.

The US National Cancer Institute said that smokers of low-tar cigarettes in fact tend to inhale more deeply to get the same amount of nicotine into their lungs.

The only effective way to reduce the health risks of smoking was to give up altogether, said author of the report Dr Hilary Tindle.

"Even though smokers may hope to reduce their health risks by smoking lights, the results suggest they are doing just the opposite because they are significantly reducing their chances of quitting.

"Moreover, as they get older their chances of quitting become more and more diminished."

The study was conducted by the University of Pittsburgh and is published in the American Journal of Public Health.

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