26 May 2017:
Cigarettes branded as “low tar” could have made smokers more vulnerable to the most common form of lung cancer, according to scientists.
They found a link to cigarettes with tiny ventilation holes in their filters, which were introduced about 50 years ago and marketed as “light” or “low tar” options.
Lead researcher Dr Peter Shields said: “This was done to fool smokers into thinking they were safer. Our data suggests a clear relationship between the addition of ventilation holes and increasing rates of lung adenocarcinoma over the past 20 years.
“What is especially concerning is these holes are still added to virtually all cigarettes smoked today.”
His team, from Ohio State University, carried out in-depth analysis of existing research.
They believe the small holes in filters change the way tobacco is burned, producing more cancer-causing chemicals that penetrate deep into the lungs.
The authors, writing in Journal of the National Institute, called for regulators to consider a ban on filter ventilation holes.
It is already illegal to brand cigarettes with the words “light” or “low-tar” in the US and UK. Hazel Cheeseman, of Action on Smoking and Health, said tobacco firms played a “cruel trick” on smokers for decades.
She added: “This type of branding trickery is just the reason all packs now sold in the UK are a drab green. Future generations of children will not be conned.”