“The filter in cigarettes is useless”:

2 facts to clean up the rumor

This a question for all smokers.

Do you remember what cigarettes without filters were like?

I remember them well. I can’t say they were terrible, but they were a bit harsh and often made me cough.

Smokers of unfiltered cigarettes were easily recognizable by their yellowish nails and fingertips stained with ingrained tar.

Later, with the popularization of filtered cigarettes, people gradually started to forget and give up on unfiltered tobacco products.

Cigarette Filters

Cigarette Filters

Today, I hear many opinions that filters in cigarettes are useless and nothing more than a marketing trick, rather than a helpful component.

It seems to me that those who speak this way may not know what filters are made of, what function they serve, and how they assist smokers.

Cigarette filter – what is it made of?

Do you remember when the first cigarettes with filters appeared?

Historical facts indicate that the first attempts to create cigarettes with filters were made in the 1920s and 1930s.

They were tested for about 20 years, and in the 1940s, officially filtered cigarettes like Winston, Kent, and others were introduced.

Initially, filters were made from asbestos, but later, different materials were used.

What is the modern cigarette filter made of?

The answer is cellulose acetate and plug wrap paper.

Cellulose acetate material itself is not solid; it resembles cotton.

To give it density and elasticity during production, triacetin is added to the material.

A filter that is too rigid is not ideal. The harder it is, the more plasticizer it contains.

What can we conclude? A similar filter may not purify smoke as effectively. Therefore, it is essential to find a balance.

To enhance the smoke filtration efficiency, absorbing components such as activated charcoal, porous carbon, or polymer fiber inclusions can be added to the filter.

Typically, cigarettes with such advanced purification systems are more expensive than those with a regular cellulose acetate filter.

Cellulose acetate, the material used to manufacture cigarette filters, is very inexpensive, which is why tobacco companies continue to use it.

I believe that in the future, we should expect a biodegradable filter made from more economical components.

A similar filter can be seen in IQOS sticks (see more information in this article: LET’S OPEN AN IQOS STICK), but it cannot withstand the high temperature of the smoke and starts to melt.

520 Filter Cigarettes

520 Filter Cigarettes

Why do cigarettes need a filter?

Have you ever wondered why cigarettes need a filter? Perhaps smokers can do without it?

First and foremost, the filter was created to make the smoking process as comfortable and safe as possible.

Through research, it became known that the cellulose acetate filter only slightly absorbs tars, nicotine, and carcinogens that enter the body with the smoke.

The maximum level of absorption is achieved with a charcoal filter. A layer of activated charcoal is placed between the cellulose acetate walls, which absorbs a larger amount of harmful compounds compared to a regular cellulose acetate filter.

One drawback of the charcoal filter, when used in abundance, is that it takes away some of the tobacco taste and aroma.

In addition to its cleansing function, the filter enhances comfort during smoking.

How? Thanks to the perforation rings and a mouthpiece in the form of a “well” or a wide, hollow hole with cardboard walls.

This is done to prevent the hot smoke from irritating the throat and mucous membranes, allowing the smoker to feel only the rich taste of the tobacco. If only they wouldn’t add chemicals to the tobacco, and the cigarette quality remained as it was in the 90s.

Now, we can deduce that the filter in cigarettes is not a trick but an essential part of the design. Without it, the smoking process would become less safe and pleasant due to the high content of tars, nicotine, carcinogens, and other combustion by-products in the tobacco.

Open pack full of filter cigarettes closeup

Open pack full of filter cigarettes closeup

Certainly, there are still various opinions regarding cigarette filters, which can lead to misunderstandings for some people.

In the end, let’s conclude the facts about cigarette filters:

  1. Filters in cigarettes are designed to reduce the amount of harmful substances that a smoker inhales. They can trap some of the tar and other chemicals present in cigarette smoke.
  2. Filters are made of various materials, including cellulose acetate, a type of plastic. The composition of filters can vary between different brands and types of cigarettes.
  3. While filters do reduce certain harmful components, it’s essential to remember that smoking any form of tobacco product still carries significant health risks. Smoking is a major cause of various serious health issues, such as lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory problems.
  4. Some studies suggest that filters may change smokers’ smoking behavior. Some individuals may compensate for the perceived reduction in smoke harshness by taking larger or more frequent puffs, which can negate the intended benefits of the filter.
  5. The effectiveness of filters can vary, and they may not eliminate all harmful substances from cigarette smoke.

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