Cigarette Filters...

Until they make a cigarette filter that removes polonium (radioactive) then there is no way to make cigarettes less carcinogenic. Since filters seem to make people smoke more, not less, it could be argued that a filter cigarette might actually be more deadly. :smack:

Non-smoker here but the base case is crucial. Sounds like smoking an equivalent amount of filtered is slightly better than smoking that number of unfiltered. As the article says thought, generally smokers don’t smoke the same quantity.

A similar base case seems to happen with with e-Cigs. Clearly not healthier than not smoking anything but are they healthier than smoking the equivalent number of filtered or non-filtered? Are people starting with e-Cigs who wouldn’t have started with the traditional type?

I do not smoke tobacco, but I have to say e-cigs are interesting. If I didn’t have a cardiac history, I’d definitely give them a try.

Cecil missed the point. Cigarette smokers definitely prefer filtered cigarettes, they are easier to hold and they prevent bits of tobacco from getting in your mouth. Some smokers even believe that filters cause cancer but use them anyway because of the convenience. There are all sorts of people who smoke, I imagine some believe that filters somehow make cigarettes healthier, but most don’t, very few don’t know that it is unquestionably unhealthy.


WAG-nicotine is a rather strong stimulant. With a past history of cardiac trouble, you really don’t want to risk a jolt to the old ticker if you aren’t already habituated to nicotine.

I smoke cannabis daily. When I’ve smoked with “Europeans” they usually smoke cannabis mixed with tobacco. There’s a definite “up” from the tobacco.

Plus the e-cig tech is cool. I have a few cannabis vaporizers and they use similar tech.

running coach, I was asking why he wanted to try them, everyone should stay away from nicotine. And kayaker seems to realize that. Now weed is a different story, not gonna say it’s healthy to be smoking it, but it’s way less unhealthy than smoking tobacco or vaping anything with nicotine in it.

Article link: Do cigarette filters do anything?

I’m 59. I never planned on living forever, and realism is my middle name. “Unhealthy” isn’t a reason for me to avoid something IMHO.:slight_smile:

I’m in the same boat. I’m sure I would be less unhealthy if not for all those cigarettes though. Trust me, there’s nothing to gain from smoking tobacco or nicotine. Now I hear it doesn’t even make you cool anymore.

There was, in the 60s (and maybe now, for aught I know), a kind of holder/filter that was quite effective, mechanically. It drew the smoke through a venturi tube and then smashed it into a wall. Considerable gooey, sticky matter with the stench of an ashtray raised to the nth power accumulated, but the thing could be cleaned for reuse.

Whoops! I see they still make it. It rejoices in the name of “Targard”.

So cigarette filters are useless and tobacco companies won’t make them biodegradable.
Here’s the follow up: Why are cigarette smokers do thoughtless that they have no regrets about trashing the planet with their discarded butts? :smack: We lived next door to two guys who smoked on the front porch because they weren’t allowed to indoors. There were thousands of cigarette butts on the ground around the front porch and into our front yard.

Pure anecdote here form me, CelticKnot:, but I took a smoker friend out hiking, and he threw his buts everywhere. He was secure they would biodegrade in “no time” whereas I was, at least nominally, entrenched in the “Leave no trace” meme.

My WAG is, if you smoke a half a pack a day or more, those countless filter butts are like cookie crumbs from that pack of Lorna Doones someone might have scarfed binge watching TiVo – shame, regret, grim resignation, satisfaction all leave not caring about the leavings.

To the OP, while cigarettes might contain trace amounts of polonium (after all, everything contains trace amounts of everything else), that doesn’t mean that you absolutely must filter it out. Cigarettes contain plenty of other carcinogens, too, in much greater quantities than the polonium. So if you could get out the non-polonium carcinogens, or even just a sizable fraction of them, you’d significantly increase the overall safety of the cig.

Unless, of course, your smokes are made by the KGB.

People at my club constantly ask where the ashtray is. We don’t have them, anymore, because the state sees them as prima-facia evidence that we are allowing smoking. We don’t offer trash cans, either, because those would catch on fire.

“What am I supposed to do with my cigarette?”
“I don’t know. Most of the other smokers just toss them on the ground.”

We obviously need a better system.

Tobacco is a scavenger plant and specifically tends to uptake and utilize polonium, of which all isotopes are radioactive and [SUP]210[/SUP] is an alpha emitter, which is essentially harmless outside the body (alphas are stopped by the outer layer of the epidermis) but very harmful if inhaled or injested. Of course, the tobacco plant also has many carcenogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAC) which are especially concentrated in the flue-cured tobacco used in cigarette manufacture, and are necessary to conceal the repugnant taste and stench of nicotine.

There is no way to practically filter out elemental polonium from tobacco, and no way to manufacture a cigarette without PACs that would be palatable to smokers (or anyone else around them). As the Cecil Adams points out, the filters are more of the appearance than actual effect of protecting the user, and the butts can persist for months, containing amounts of nitotine and PACs that are harmful to wildlife or children that unwittingly pick them up and consume them. There is a good argument for mandating that cigarette manufacturers either making so-called ‘filters’ readily biodegradable (breaking down within days of contact with UV and liquid water) or eliminating them entirely as a deceitful marketing tactic intended to convince the user of benefit to health.


When I walk the lightly-traveled road near my house, I rarely find whole butts. That’s because paper and tobacco, burned or not, degrades quite rapidly. But filters – don’t. They stick around for years, maybe decades.

I was standing in line at the Washington Monument many years ago, as a youg man behind me explained that he had got into the habbit of pocketing his butts while on the parade ground in basic, and it seemed like a good idea. I couldn’t see what he was doing, but some people used to use match boxes. Film canisters were also used.

Lots of people put the field stripped butts back into their cigarette pack and empty them when they get to a trash can, by which point they’re well cooled. I used to tuck mine between the paper and the box, so they were segregated away from my unsmoked smokes and easy to dump.

This is not even close to being anyone else’s problem that needs to be dealt with by public accommodation. If the smoker brought it in, they can take it back out.

Every time I see your handle I think of Wyoming Knott. :slight_smile: