It may be riskier for your lungs to smoke cigarettes in the U.S. today than it was a few decades ago. According to a new study, changes in cigarette design are to blame for fueling a certain type of lung cancer. Up to half of the nation’s lung cancer cases may be due to those changes.
The study found the increase in a kind of lung tumor called adenocarcinoma was higher in the U.S. than in Australia even though both countries switched to so-called milder cigarettes at the same time.
“The most likely explanation for it is a change in the cigarette,” Burns said in an interview — and he cited a difference: Cigarettes sold in Australia contain lower levels of nitrosamines, a known carcinogen, than those sold in the U.S.
Initial studies blamed the introduction of filtered, lower-tar cigarettes. When smokers switched, they began inhaling more deeply to get their nicotine jolt, pushing the smoke deeper than before.
The new study found the increase in a kind of lung tumor called adenocarcinoma was higher in the U.S. than in Australia, even though both switched to lower-tar cigarettes around the same time. The most likely explanation is a change in the cigarette; cigarettes sold in Australia contain lower levels of nitrosamines, a known carcinogen, than those sold in the U.S.
“Up to half of the nation’s lung cancer cases may be due to those changes,” Dr. David Burns of the University of California, San Diego, told a recent meeting of tobacco researchers.
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