I read a story that said there are some cigarettes that are safer to smoke and can cut the risk of cancer by 90 per cent. Is this true?"

For many years, Australians smoked “light” or “mild” cigarettes believing they were less harmful than regular cigarettes. For a time, even health authorities were under that impression. But there is now clear evidence proving that so-called “low tar cigarettes” are just as harmful as regular cigarettes. Consequently, since 2005 tobacco companies are no longer permitted to label cigarettes as “light” or “mild” because such labels are understood to suggest a lesser risk to health. 

The tobacco industry continues to claim that it is developing cigarettes that are less harmful, with some so-called “reduced harm” cigarettes already available overseas. These products use differing approaches in an attempt to achieve harm reduction, but no such approach has been proven. So there is no such thing as a safe, or even safer, cigarette, and no safe level of exposure to the carcinogens in tobacco smoke. 

The current available evidence indicates that all smoked tobacco products are harmful both to the smoker and to other people exposed to second-hand smoke. We continue to advocate for government regulation to ensure information about cigarettes – including their contents and emissions – is evidence-based, complete and in the public interest.