Public Release: 

Slim cigarette smokers not exposed to more harmful chemicals

R&D at British American Tobacco

A new study confirms that the exposure to tar tended to be lower for smokers of slim cigarettes than of regular cigarettes. Similarly, exposure to nicotine tended to be lower.

Slim cigarettes are an increasingly popular type of cigarette in several countries around the world. Previous studies have shown that the levels of certain toxic chemicals in the smoke of these cigarettes are lower than those in regular cigarettes. However, because lower levels of chemicals in the smoke are not necessarily linked to a reduced exposure to harmful chemicals, concerns had been raised about whether or not smokers of these cigarettes are at a greater health risk than those who smoke regular cigarettes.

To determine the chemical exposure to smokers of slim cigarettes, scientists at British American Tobacco conducted a study in Russia, where slim cigarettes are popular. The study group contained 360 smokers of regular and slim cigarettes and their exposure to tar and nicotine were measured. This was done using a cutting-edge technique that involves measuring levels of chemicals in the smokers' used cigarette filters.

These findings tally with measurements made using high-tech smoking machines, which showed reductions in the levels of a number of chemicals in the smoke including carbon monoxide, acetaldehyde, nitric oxide, acrylonitrile and benzene.

Lead Scientist Madeleine Ashley says that differences in the size of the puffs that the smokers of slim cigarettes took may explain the lower exposure to tar and nicotine. Ashley further stated that 'this is likely to be due to the reduced circumference of slim cigarettes, making it harder to draw on.'

Ian Fearon, Principal Scientist at British American Tobacco, added: 'More studies measuring the levels of smoke chemicals in the blood of smokers are needed to fully understand the exposure of people who smoke slim cigarettes. However, we can assume, based on our current findings, that smokers of slim cigarettes are at no greater risk of exposure to smoke chemicals than regular cigarette smokers. Further work would be needed to assess how this relates to a smoker's health risk.'

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