What’s in a cigarette?
There are four main components to a cigarette: the filter, additives, tobacco, and the paper.
Do filters actually make cigarettes safer?
During the 1950s, tobacco companies introduced filtered cigarettes. The idea was that the tiny holes in the filter would allow the toxic smoke to mix with air to make it easier on the throat, and also allow some of the smoke to escape before inhalation.
However, we know that filters do nothing to improve the safety of tobacco smoking. This is because:
- The tiny holes are placed where most people hold the cigarette, making it easy to block them entirely.
- If the holes in the filter aren’t blocked, smokers often find themselves taking larger puffs, or inhaling deeper to get a satisfactory hit of nicotine. This has been linked to an increase in adenocarcinomas, which is a deadly form of lung cancer deep in the lung.
Despite this, many people still believe the myth that filters have a protective function.
Another problem with filters is that they are made of plastic, which is detrimental to the environment. Cigarettes are the most littered item in Australia, and discarded cigarettes can harm wildlife both on land and in our waterways.