[Answered] Can Filter Cigarettes make them safer? Why not?

filter on cigarettes

Filter Cigarettes might be considered less harmful? Searching for the answer to the topic, I got an article on filtered cigarettes on the site howstuffworks.com.

But lots of questions still haunted me. I came with some questions such as;
Do cigarette filters do anything? Or if don’t then why don’t filters work?, And then what is the purpose of filters in cigarettes?

Apart from this, a short and simple crisp answer to all these questions related to cigarettes with filters is:

No, filtered cigarettes aren’t any safer than non-filtered. As filters don’t 100% protect you from unhealthy chemicals of smoking. But in some ways, they might be more dangerous than non-filtered cigarettes.

This is because many filters are made of thousands of small fibers. They are designed to block only the bigger tar particles and letting smaller particles pass through them.

So in the event of smoking due to the absence of larger tar particles, the filtered smoke feels milder on the throat. This milder feeling makes it easier and increases the chances to take larger and deeper puffs.

This is how and why the filtered cigarettes are not safe. So in short, cigarettes with an added filter doesn’t make it a safe alternative to non-filtered cigarettes filter.

Now let’s dig deeper and figure out what the parameters that result in the development of filters in smoking industries.

Cigarette filters are used to decrease the amount of smoke intake. Filters were added to cigarettes in the 1950s when it first became acknowledged that tars were potentially dangerous to health.

So, it was picturized as a method of filtering and reducing tar amount. Afterward, low-tar cigarettes became so popular in the industry and they are marketed as “lights”. 

How Filtered Cigarettes made you more

Filters are generally made from cellulose acetate fiber, paper, and activated charcoal. And there are various types of filters. And one of the most used filter types is Physical filtration type. These filters stop the larger impurities by sieving them according to the tar sized particles. In other words, a physical filter can be a sieve, that filters the appropriately sized particles and let the smaller one pass off In smoking a filtered cigarette, there are two major phases involved:

Phase 1: When smoke dragged through the filter

When the smoke dragged through the filters, they have small sieved pores surface that filters the tar particles of smoke. The smoke is filtered according to the seizing technique. The filter blocked the bigger molecule of tar and nicotine or some other by-product which are bigger than the sieve size. Hence, only smaller tar particles get passed-off. 

Phase 2: When smoke enters into the mouth to lungs

When the filtered smoke enters the mouth and throat, it feels lighter and smoother. Because of fine particles of smoke is not harsh to the surface of the throat and food-pipe. It can be understood by this example.

Example: The smaller bites of food can easily swell down to the stomach or as the bites size smaller it becomes more malleable. And is more desirable to the esophagus (food pipe) to pass through. 

Hence, they are not harsh to the throat but this not reduces the harmful effects of filtered cigarettes. 

How filtered cigarettes are as dangerous as non-filtered cigarettes?

Filtered cigarettes are not a safe alternative to unfiltered cigarettes because of the following reasons:

  1. Block only the largest tar particles: Filters only block the largest tar particles, letting smaller bits of tar through them that can travel deeper into your lungs.
  2. Particle size and effective surface area: Smaller the particle size greater is the effective surface area and hence particle size reduction increases the absorption of smoke particles.
    • Smaller the size more absorption, and
    • Smaller the size, less harsh to the throat and other-body (mouth) parts.
  3. Take larger puffs: Filtered smoke feels milder on the throat, making it easier to take bigger and deeper puffs.
  4. Consumption of more filtered cigarette filters: In filtered cigarettes, there is less nicotine and tar intake. The nicotine concentration was several times lower than non-filtered cigarettes.  And the person with the dependency on nicotine or addicted to non-filtered cigarettes, they smoke more cigarettes to achieve the same effect that nicotine provided by the non-filtered cigarettes. 

These all above mentioned proven facts revealed that filtered cigarettes are as dangerous as unfiltered cigarettes.

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What happens to most Smokers who switch to filter cigarettes?

To meet the desired amount of nicotine, some modifications that smokers had done to achieve a similar effect to non-filter cigarettes.

1. Take more puffs:

  • Take bigger puffs
  • Smoke to a shorter butt length and,
  • Puff more often.

2. Increase the concentration of smoke per puff:

  • Block vents on vented cigarettes (> 65% air dilution) with lips, fingers, or tape.
  • Increase puff speed (lowering down filter effectiveness)
  • Remove filters

How much you should smoke filtered cigarettes? | Honest Reviews

How much you should smoke filtered cigarettes?

The motivation behind vented filters is to offer the smoker a lot of more “air” and less tar and nicotine with every puff. One can notice that the filter of a cigarette butt turns yellow after taking a couple of puffs. This shading to yellowish color is due to the tar that’s being filtered out of it. But, this not implies that filtered cigarettes are a safe alternative.

If one can smoke a couple of packs on a daily basis of filtered cigarettes, the damage won’t be noticeably different from the damage caused by unfiltered cigarettes.

If you want to find a safer way to smoke, it is simply recommended as minimum as you can smoke filtered cigarettes a day, rather than two to three packs which like most addicted smokers. And the best solution is to cut it (cigarettes) out of your life.

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Case Study on Cigarette Filters- A review:

Research paper #1: The intractable cigarette ‘filter problem’ by Bradford Harris

In their study, they focus on how the filters get evolved and become part of cigarettes. And the role of advertisement to keep it selling filters. Main points of his research are:

  • Filters turned into a marketing tool, designed to keep and recruit smokers as consumers of those hazardous products. 
  • During the early period, when lung cancer fears emerged in the early 1950s, cigarette companies initiated a shift in cigarette design from unfiltered to filtered cigarettes.  
  • Both the in-effectualness of cigarette filters and the industry’s misleading marketing of the benefits of filtered cigarettes. However, throughout the 1950s and 1960s, American cigarette companies invested a tremendous amount of money to solve what the industry identified as the ‘filter problem’. In their tries to achieve this, they built up the universal cellulose acetate cigarette filter.

The key line of this study is, how the tobacco industry use filters as a marketing tool to accomplish and facilitates smokers as consumers of these hazardous products.

Research Paper 2: Influence of cigarette filter ventilation on smokers’ mouth level exposure to tar and nicotine by John W.Caraway et.al.

The main objective of this study was to analyze the link between butt filter ventilation and Mouth Level Exposure (MLE) to tar and nicotine in cigarette smokers.

  • According to data from 11 studies in 9 nations, totaling 7534 participants. They established relationships between ventilation and Mouth Level Exposure (MLE) to tar and nicotine in butt cigarette smokers. 
  • According to their study, the average smokers of highly ventilated cigarettes exposed to lower amounts of nicotine as well as tar per cigarette and per day than smokers of cigarettes with lower levels of ventilation.

The bottom line of this research is, “Greater ventilation lesser the potential exposure to tar and nicotine in smokers.”  And you should prefer, if smoke, a cigarette that has high in ventilated pores.


A cigarette filter or filtered cigarettes could be a part of the cigarette, along with cigarette paper, capsules, and adhesives. It does not make cigarettes healthy. But cigarettes not only an unsafe product it adds additional vulnerability to health and also increases the chances of disease caused by them. So, it is best to cut the shreds of cigarettes from your life and be a person you want to become. 

And if you like this post titled “[Answered] Can filter on cigarette make them safer? Why not?” then please comments every comment is noticeable and I like your feedback and don’t forget to share.

Have a nice day ahead. And “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way”. And cutting a filtered cigarette or any type of tobacco product on a daily basis will lead you to a great life.

Be Healthy! And God bless you with smiling!

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