There’s a notion that smoking with a filter reduces the harm of cigarette smoke. However, this isn’t true – smoking with a filter doesn’t make any cigarette healthier.
A cigarette filter does not keep your body safe from cigarette smoke.
In this post, you’ll learn why smoking with a filter isn’t healthier, and why stopping smoking is always the best option to get physically and mentally better.
How Do Cigarette Filters Work?
Unfiltered cigarettes are traditional rolled cigarettes that only need wrapping paper and tobacco leaves to consume.
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Modern cigarettes have filters – the cigarette butts disposed after consuming tobacco – made from cellulose acetate fibre, rayon and paper.
While they may look like they’re stopping ‘something’ by the slight discoloration on them after finishing a cigarette, they really do nothing positive for your health.
Why Smoking With a Filter Won’t Make You Healthier
Scientific evidence overwhelmingly suggests that smoking with a filter does not make smoking any safer due to the following reasons:
Cigarette filters do not remove the harms of cigarette smoke.
Cigarette filters cannot completely remove aldehydes, cadmium, and various other dangerous chemicals that can damage your lungs, stomach, heart and other parts of the body.
Furthermore, cigarette filters can actually be more harmful than unfiltered cigarettes (not that the unfiltered ones are safer at all). Depending on its manufacturing date or how long it’s been on the shelves, the cellulose fibre can swiftly break down and introduce microparticles, which can irritate and significantly damage the lungs.
If a smoker doesn’t get the throat hit and nicotine they need due to using filters, they are more likely to puff much more to compensate. They would take deeper and more frequent puffs to get the required satisfaction.
As you can guess, this results in the quicker consumption of the cigarette and the increased intake of harmful chemicals. Furthermore, the deeper and frequent puffs can accelerate the breakdown of the filter’s cellulose materials that a smoker can inhale as microparticles each time.
Cigarette filters do not filter anything at all. They make a cigarette look much ‘neater’ and do not let the leaves spill from the non-lit end, but that’s all they do. They do not reduce the amount of tar and dangerous chemicals that you can inhale from cigarette smoke. You’re still in harm’s way with every hit.
Here’s a basic rule: if you still inhale the smoke from a lit ciggie, you’re still exposed to the same dangers. Furthermore, the cigarette filter does not filter the smoke emission from the lit end of a cigarette, which is something you and others can still inhale.
Aside from still endangering your health, cellulose tar filters also endanger the environment.
Cigarette filters, often made with non-biodegradable materials, contribute to environmental pollution. Combined with the billions of cigarette butts discarded every day and break down into microparticles, it endangers the health of any nearby natural environment.
Furthermore, the cigarette butts still contain the dangerous chemicals absorbed from the smoke, which can leach into aquatic life, the soil, and be consumed by small animals that can poison themselves and their natural predators.
While recycling these waste materials is possible, it will take a global effort and maximum awareness to ensure cigarette butts and discarded tar filters do not endanger the environment.
Why Quitting Is the Only Answer
If you want to keep yourself safe from the dangers of cigarette smoke, smoking with a filter isn’t the answer – quitting is the only way to make yourself, your family, and your local environment healthy.
Go Through First-Line Solutions First
Some motivated smokers can handle cold turkey just fine and see success within a few tries, but oftentimes, people have strong withdrawals that can draw them back to lighting a stick.
That’s where nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products come in. These are readily available and stocked at your local pharmacy and grocery store.
NRT products are the most trusted quitting option available for motivated smokers. They might not imitate cigarettes, but they contain a small dose of nicotine that may be enough to alleviate your withdrawals. These come in the form of patches, gums, sprays and lozenges for easy and convenient nicotine delivery.
While NRTs can be effective, they don’t work for everyone. If these haven’t done the trick for you, you may now be eligible for a nicotine prescription to use nicotine vaping products (NVPs) from your local pharmacy.
Chat to a GP
As mentioned, NRT products have worked for many successful ex-smokers. But, you might have ingrained behaviours and triggers that only something that mimics a cigarette can successfully address, such as the hand-to-mouth motion, and needing something to use while having a drink with friends.
That is where NVPs become very handy in helping you fight the urge to consume tobacco.
You need a nicotine prescription before you can purchase NVPs, so you’ll need to consult with a GP to help you on your smoking cessation journey.
And, if your GP deems it necessary, they can write you a nicotine prescription for NVPs.
You can chat to your usual GP about this, or have a friendly chat with an experienced authorised prescriber of nicotine.
Visit Your Local Pharmacy
Once you have your nicotine prescription, you can pop down to your local pharmacy. Over 2,200 pharmacies across Australia hold these products in-store, but any pharmacy can order these in for you if they don’t currently stock them.
Both your pharmacist and GP can advise you on how best to use the product, such as the initial setup, and the number of puffs to take when you feel withdrawals.
Smoking with a filter to get healthier is a myth. Aside from potentially endangering your health even further by introducing dangerous microparticles into your lungs, discarded butts also endanger the environment.
The best way to keep safe from smoking is to stop smoking for good. While this is a tall order for anyone, this is where we can help you the most.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to friendly Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good.