Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Smoke from cigarette tip is more toxic than main inhaled smoke

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 15 December 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1425

Rapid Response:

Active smoker is affected more than the passive smoker

The smoke coming out from the cigarette tip is more dangerous than
the inhaled smoke. The smoke that passes through the filter of the
cigarette is less harmful because some of the carbon particles are
deposited in the filter of the cigarette or the tobacco in the cigarette.

When the smoke is inhaled, most of the carbon will get deposited in the
alveoli. This can be demonstrated by blowing the smoke forcefully against
the finger nail. You take the smoke in mouth and blow it against the
finger nail and you can see the formation of a dark spot. Next you take
the smoke into your lungs and then blow it against the finger nail. This
time it will fail to produce a stain or spot on your nail.

There is a general belief that the passive smoker is affected more than
the active smoker because he inhales the smoke coming from the cigarette
tip. This is not true. Because the active smoker inhales both smokes;
passing thorough the filter and the tip of the cigarette, where as the
passive smoker inhales the smoke from the cigarette tip and also the
carbon free smoke released from the lung of the smoker. Since the nose of
the active smoker is nearer to the tip of the cigarette that he is
smoking, he should get more direct smoke from cigarette tip than the
passive smokers. So the belief that “the passive smoker is affected more”
is meaningless.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

19 December 2005
Dr.Satheesha Nayak
Associate Professor of Anatomy
Melaka Manipal Medical College (Manipal Campus) Madhav Nagar, Manipal. Karnataka State. India.