Why Cigarette Filters Are Dangerously Deceptive

Many of us try to make good, healthy choices every day. But it can be hard to make these good choices when we act on the wrong information. Enter Big Tobacco. For more than 50 years, tobacco companies have been feeding the public lies about the “benefits” of cigarette filters to distract smokers from the very real dangers of smoking. And then, they capitalize on the addiction that follows. If you smoked and believed these claims to your detriment, you have a right to fight this deception in court.

The Extreme Harmfulness of Smoking

We know you already know this, but tobacco use is incredibly dangerous and incredibly addictive. The risk of lung cancer is a popular answer to why an individual should avoid a smoking habit. However, smoking can cause a staggering number of other debilitating and fatal health complications, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Increased immune system complications
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Lung disease
  • Increased eye disease risk
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Increased tuberculosis risk

Sadly, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than 16 million Americans are suffering from a disease caused by smoking. Even sadder, smoking claims close to 500,000 Americans per year in this country.

The Tobacco Industry’s Dangerous Peddling of Filters as the Answer

So if you are a smoker who is concerned about your health but you are having a difficult time quitting, what do you do? Maybe, like many smokers, you think smoking a “natural” or “organic” cigarette from a company like American Spirit Cigarettes will help. Maybe you hope that cigarette filters will make you less likely to become a statistic. Unfortunately, these options are not going to help. With filters, the tobacco industry has pushed filters as making cigarettes less dangerous since the 1950s, and despite all the public knows about the dangers of smoking, persists today.

The History of Filters and Tobacco Advertising

In the 1950s, the public began to learn about the great dangers of smoking and was justifiably scared. Tobacco companies responded by making filtered cigarettes and claiming that they had the ability to protect smokers from health hazards. Due to the relentless media campaigns by the tobacco industry spreading misinformation, smokers believed these claims for decades. Many continued to smoke filtered cigarettes instead of quitting, with all the harm that entailed.

The Dangers of Filters

What the public did not know was that cigarettes with filters or filter tips can make smoking more dangerous. This is partly due to the numerous other chemical substances mixed in with tobacco. Modern cigarette filters are efficient at transporting these harmful compounds deeper into smokers’ airways and can cause a specific type of cancer called adenocarcinoma. And because cigarette filters reduce the harsh sensation of smoking, the result is that smokers inhale deeper with each puff. Tobacco companies have known for decades that filters are ineffective in preventing serious smoking-related conditions, yet they have continued to promote filters as a way to reduce the harm of their products. For decades, the public has believed these companies and smoked to their detriment. This is why Stanford history of science professor Robert N. Proctor has stated that “Filters are the deadliest fraud in the history of human civilization” in his interview for The New York Times Magazine article “Who Made That Cigarette Filter?”

Wait, What About Charcoal Filters?

If you have been to a drug store in the past ten years, you have likely seen countless products telling you they contain charcoal. But wait, isn’t that what you use to barbecue? At some point, charcoal became associated with “healthier living.” While charcoal has certain medical purposes related to removal of toxins, companies have sought to add charcoal—and its first cousin, “activated charcoal”—to almost anything. These substances are now added to food, beverages, home appliances, and oral and hygiene care products. Seeing this increased demand for all things charcoal, Big Tobacco wasted little time getting (back) on this bandwagon. If charcoal will help your teeth and gut, then it can convince smokers that it will reduce the harm caused by inhaling toxic cigarette smoke, right? Wrong. First, it’s questionable whether the addition of charcoal to foods and personal care products provides any true health benefit to consumers. Second, while some research has found that charcoal cigarette filters can reduce carcinogens, charcoal filter tips don’t have an association with a reduced lung cancer risk. Third, Big Tobacco previously tried to introduce charcoal filters to cigarettes in this country, but they had poor acceptance. Nevertheless, no fewer smokers got sick and died from their previous attempts to market charcoal filtered cigarettes.

Tell Big Tobacco Its Charcoal Filters Won’t Fool You

Tobacco companies are not allowed to mislead the public about their charcoal-filtered products. Tobacco companies that are not truthful may be violating New York’s deceptive trade practice laws. If you thought these “new” charcoal filters were a fool-proof way to have a “safe” cigarette, don’t blame yourself. Tell us about it and we’ll work to stop these false messages in their tracks.

We Dislike False Advertising as Much as You Do

Do not be scared to hold Big Tobacco accountable for the harm it causes. Sheehan & Associates, P.C. has the experience and passion to take on the Goliaths of the Tobacco industry on your behalf. Spencer Sheehan helps New York residents by keeping companies honest. If you’ve fallen for Big Tobacco’s latest charcoal filters trick, we want to hear from you. Contact us online today.


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