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Switch to 'Light' Cigarettes Makes Quitting Tougher
Date:11/3/2009

to continue smoking? "Prior research suggests that switching may resolve smokers' cognitive dissonance about smoking -- something along the lines of, 'Well, since I'm smoking a [supposedly] healthier cigarette, I really don't have to worry about lung cancer, heart disease, impotence, wrinkles, early death [fill in the blank] because my health is not at risk,'" Tindle said. "This type of rationale may keep more health-conscious smokers smoking."

But there are other possible explanations, added Robert West, a researcher who studies tobacco use at University College London in England. It's possible, for example, that people who switch are already more dependent on cigarettes and less able to quit, he said.

What to do? "In Europe, tobacco companies are not allowed to call cigarettes low tar or imply that they are in any way safer," West said.

Regardless of how cigarettes are marketed, Tindle said, "the best solution for the problem of how to live longer and healthier is to quit smoking now."

In related news, a study published Nov. 3 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health finds that smoking during pregnancy is linked to a higher level of behavioral problems in offspring later in life, even among those as young as 3.

A team from the University of York in the England tracked 14,000 mother-and-child pairs and found that maternal smoking during pregnancy was associated with significantly higher odds for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other behavioral woes, compared to children born to nonsmoking mothers.

More information

Find out more about smoking and its consequences at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: Hilary Tindle, M.D., MPH, researcher, Center for Research on Healthcare, division of general internal medicine, University of Pittsbu
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