“Light Cigarettes Aren’t As Bad” Isn’t Just An Excuse Anymore
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“Light Cigarettes Aren’t As Bad” Isn’t Just An Excuse Anymore


This post was originally published on September 10, 2014.

As of today, I am one year, five months and 22 days off cigarettes (and 11 lbs. on licorice). Sometimes, when I am having a bad day—especially a bad eating day—I remind myself that at least I am no longer a smoker. I see people standing outside their office buildings in 95-degree heat and am relieved to have that monkey finally off my back. But Tech Times recently reported on a study that validates one of the cardinal fallacies that smokers tell themselves—that lighter cigarettes are better for you. And all I can think is, great, now they tell me.

Put This in Your Pipe and Smoke It

But what this study actually shows might be confusing to people—especially people who decide to interpret it as smoking ultra lights is as good as juicing. The only sort of new information here is that smoking cigarettes with reduced amounts of nicotine is less addictive, doesn’t expose you to any additional toxic chemicals (as previously believed) and doesn’t cause you to smoke any more or puff any harder (also previously believed). Up until now, the word on the street has been that smoking is bad—the end. Other than what light and ultra light smokers have secretly told themselves to justify their addiction, no one would cop to believing that smoking lights was the lesser of two evils. In fact, five years before I quit, I switched from Marlboro Lights to Marlboro Reds because so many people shamed me into thinking there wasn’t a difference. I finally figured, welp, if I am going to die young it may as well taste good.

Nothing in this article says that smoking isn’t still bad for you (right? Otherwise I am gonna be pissed), but the great news is, if you are a hard core smoker looking to quit, switching to mediums, lights and then ultra lights may be a viable plan to start tapering off.

Lighter Cigs Aren’t Any Lighter on Consequences

And if you are already an ultra light smoker—my apologies—but this study isn’t a free pass to tell yourself you are basically a non-smoker (much like my grandmother, who always told me that marshmallow calories don’t count because they are just air); however, you can feel good about being at the final frontier before being a real non-smoker and knowing that nicotine addition actually has you scientifically less by the balls than it does your friends who smoke Lucky Strikes. Although, if you have friends who still smoke Lucky Strikes, you probably have bigger problems than quitting smoking.

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About Author

Danielle Stewart is a Los Angeles-based writer and recovering comedian. She has written for Showtime, E!, and MTV, as well as print publications such as Us Weekly and Life & Style Magazine. She returned to school and is currently working her way towards a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves coffee, Law & Order SVU, and her emotional support dog, Benson.