Dhaka Courier

Are unfiltered cigarettes really most deadly compared to filtered ones?

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Adhunik questions the validity of new research findings that turn on its head the long held scientific views

The national anti-tobacco organisation ADHUNIK’s president  Amanullah Khan in a statement to the press today expressed deep concern over what he regards as he misleading research findings appearing a few days ago in Health Day News and also covered in a local daily under the caption ‘unfiltered cigarettes are most deadly’, which suggest that filtered cigarettes are comparatively less deadly than the unfiltered ones.

“The new research authored by Dr Nina Thomas, a fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in the USA claimed that people who smoke unfiltered cigarettes have double the risk of dying from lung cancer compared to the smokers using filtered cigarettes who also have their risk of deaths from other causes cut by 30%.

“It has also not been explained in the study as to why it took so long to reach the ground breaking discovery as to the usefulness of filtered cigarettes in terms of significantly lowering the health risks. In fact the findings debunk the scientific evidence that have been gathered over a long period of time testifying that there is no safe level of tobacco use in any form or type and that any amount of tobacco smoke entering into the human organs will prove to be equally fatal in spite of any refinements like lowering tar levels, adding menthol etc. that purport to reduce cigarettes’ inherent toxicity,” the anti-tobacco campaigner said in his statement.

“It is surmised that labeling filtered cigarettes as significantly less dangerous than unfiltered ones may lend the cigarette manufacturers a degree of legitimacy and leverage on which they will capitalize and blaze their publicity campaigns. What is also worrying is the possibility that the new research findings may encourage and tempt more people to smoke and get attracted to the tobacco addiction at a time when WHO and its global partners including Bangladesh are redoubling their efforts to contain the tobacco epidemic,” Khan pointed out.

Although the study acknowledges that there is no such thing as a safe cigarette, it goes on to draw a comparison on the basis of its research that gives a definite advantage to the filtered cigarettes over the unfiltered ones in terms of its impact on human health and longevity portraying the latter as a greater villain.

“However, we do not question the methodology or the source of funding of the research nor we have any doubt about the integrity/capability of the researchers. Nevertheless, we strongly feel that in view of the sensitiveness of the subject and the negative socio economic and health implications  of smoking, there is an urgent need to carry out more intensive, thorough, corroborative and conclusive studies in order to arrive at the ultimate truth. In fact, the lead researcher admitted ‘this study didn’t delve into why unfiltered cigarettes appeared to be more deadly, but suspects it might be due to the high levels of tar. Moreover, the study is typically viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal,” Khan observed.

“Apparently as the odds are still heavily tilted in favour of the tobacco industry, the anti-tobacco organisations should be up in arms before it is too late to defeat the leviathan  that is hell bent to endanger human health and life threatening to destroy the earth’s bio-diversity,” the anti-tobacco activist concluded.

  • Are unfiltered cigarettes really most deadly compared to filtered ones?

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