Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Low-tar medium-nicotine cigarettes: a new approach to safer smoking.

Br Med J 1976; 1 doi: (Published 12 June 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;1:1430
  1. M A Russell


    The logic of expecting people who cannot stop smoking to switch to cigarettes that have hardly any nicotine is questionable. Tar and nicotine yields of cigarettes available in Britain today correlate 0-93, and further reduction of tar intake is limited by the reluctance of smokers to tolerate similar reductions in nicotine. A new approach would be to aim at lowering tar yields of cigarettes from the present average of 18 mg to around 6 mg but maintaining nicotine yields at around 1-0 to 1-2 mg, which would be acceptable to most smokers. This approach requires that emphasis be placed on tar: nicotine ratios as well as on the absolute yields. These ratios for brands on sale in Britain today average 14-2 and range from 9-6 to 20-8. They provide an additional guide for comparing the relative harmfulness of different brands. For example, 35% of cigarette smokers in Britain smoke either Embassy Filter or Players No 6 Filter; by changing to John Player Carlton King Size they could reduce their tar intake by more than 20% without having to suffer any nicotine deprivation.