Since September 2003 terms such as ‘low-tar’, ‘light’ and ‘ultra light’ have been banned.
This is because the difference between these brands and regular cigarettes is dependent on the filter alone, which uses microscopic air holes: the ‘lighter’ the cigarette, the more holes it has for drawing in air that thins and cools the smoke.
However, the thinned smoke contains less nicotine. Smokers can, unwittingly or otherwise, solve the ‘problem’ of reduced nicotine either by dragging harder on the cigarette or by grasping the filter and blocking the holes.
Research has shown that, contrary to the numbers on the packet, smokers of ‘mild’ brands are likely to inhale as much tar and nicotine as smokers of regular cigarettes. And because the same blend of tobacco is used, you can take in as many cancer-causing substances.