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Light Cigarettes: Still Really BAD for You

I have heard the query recently - "Are light cigarettes better for me?" Interesting question, but I'm fairly certain we all know the answer to that one.

NO - "Light" or "Low-tar" cigarettes are NOT better for you because they are still cigarettes, and they still contain nicotine, carbon monoxide, tar, and other toxic chemicals. Inhaling these poisonous toxins causes emphysema, and many kinds of cancer including lung, bladder, kidney, cervix, throat, mouth, esophagus, pancreas and stomach and some types of leukemia (cancer of the blood). Smoking also causes wrinkles, makes your breath stink, stains your teeth and causes asthma and other respiratory problems. "Light" cigarettes are no different.

Here's the proof: A recent study performed in Turkey tested 62 adults in their 20s - 20 who smoked regular cigarettes, 20 who used light cigarettes and 22 who’d never smoked.

The researchers tested the participants coronary flow velocity reserve (CFVR), a measure of how well blood flow speeds up to aid the heart when it’s under increased demands. CFVR reflects the overall functioning of the network of small blood vessels that feed the heart.

Even before the test began, the researchers found that smokers already have poorer CFVR levels than non-smokers. After smoking a few cigarettes, their CFVR levels decreased even more.

What was the study's conclusion? The decrease in CFVR was virtually the same whether the cigarettes were "Light" or "Regular."

Fit's Tips: If you smoke and you're looking to quit, here are some tips for dealing with the cravings. You can also call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or go to www.smokefree.gov for more info on how to quit. Quitting smoking is way too hard to do alone, so you my want to think about joining a support group.

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