The British Dental Health Foundation is reminding dental patients that filtered cigarettes will not reduce the damage caused by smoking.
The reminder comes as a new study shows filter cigarettes will not protect against tobacco-related illnesses, one of which is oral cancer.
To coincide with the Department of Health’s new campaign to encourage smokers to quit in the New Year and with No Smoking Day just around the corner, the British Dental Health Foundation believes the study reinforces the message that smokers must give up altogether and not seek ways to reduce their tobacco intake.
Published in the journal Oral Diseases, results showed for those who smoked filtered cigarettes and for those who smoked normal cigarettes, the numbers of cases of mouth cancer remained the same.
Tobacco use is considered the leading cause of mouth cancer worldwide, and the World Health Organization believe up to half of current smokers will eventually die of a tobacco-related disease.
Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, hopes the research will drive the one in five people in the UK who do smoke to kick the habit.
Dr Carter says: ‘It is quite un-nerving, yet unfortunately predictable that some people believe filter cigarettes will reduce the harmful effects of smoking. This piece of research shows they do anything but, and the chance of developing mouth cancer remains.
‘There is no shortage of information available on what smoking does to you and why you should quit, yet one in five people will continue with the habit. Mouth cancer kills one person every five hours in the UK. The number of people affected by the disease is forecast to grow, so it’s time for action.
‘That is why the Foundation has lobbied for plain packaging on tobacco packs, and continually raises awareness of the disease through our annual mouth cancer campaign. As well as tobacco use, drinking alcohol to excess, poor diet and exposure to the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is often transmitted via oral sex are the other risk factors associated with the disease.
‘While we would advise people to take a look at their current lifestyle habits that could be putting them at harm’s risk, our advice is loud and clear – if in doubt, get checked out and quit that habit.’