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Health without filters: the health and environmental impacts of cigarette filters.


Tobacco-related diseases kill eight million people worldwide ever year and are responsible for thousands of cases of cancer, cardiovascular disease and other illnesses in Brazil. Cigarette filters are believed by many to reduce the health risks of smoking. This article outlines the history of the technology of filters and discusses the impacts of these cigarette design features and their regulation. We conducted a literature review to assess the impacts of this technology. The results show that filters were initially developed for aesthetic purposes and later improved and marketed as a harm reduction technology. The most widely-used filters are those made of cellulose acetate with or without activated carbon. Despite smokers' beliefs and advertising claims, filters have no health benefits and filter tip ventilation can increase the health risks of smoking. Filters can also make cigarettes more appealing and cause significant environmental impacts. Cigarette filters have no health benefits and lull smokers into a false sense of security and should therefore be banned.

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