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American Cigarettes More Toxic Than Foreign

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, June 02, 2010 3:25 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Cancer, Cigarettes, Environmental Health,


IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ Marlboro cigarette butts/ author: Bachmont

American Cigarettes

It’s common knowledge that cigarettes can kill, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) find that American cigarettes are particularly toxic.

American cigarettes contain higher levels of cancer-causing chemicals than those made in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

CDC researchers found a higher amount of the potent carcinogen nitrosamines in U.S. brands of cigarettes, at three times the potency of cigarettes from other countries.

Dr. Jim Pirkle with the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health says that tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA) are known to vary among different brands of cigarettes but what’s of concern is that American smokers are exposed to higher levels of the drug linked to cancer.

American blend tobacco and its growing and curing practices lead to more of the TSNAs, while tobacco from other countries is called “bright” tobacco which is lighter in color and flue-cured creates cigarettes with lower levels of TSNA, according to the CDC.

The bottom line is that all cigarettes are unsafe regardless.

The study was originally launched to correlate chemicals in cigarette to metabolites found in smokers’ urine. Measuring the most deadly carcinogen in tobacco smoke and its metabolite, NNAL, researchers found the NNAL was directly related to the amount found in a cigarette butt. In all, American smokers had the higher NNAL, while the lowest levels were found in Australia and Canada.

The Food and Drug Administration’s newly created Center for Tobacco Products has been given authority to regulate cigarettes. And while menthol cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are among the first targets, the FDA could also decide to address the TSNA levels in cigarettes.

Critics charge that might give the impression that some cigarettes are “safer” than others, which is counterproductive to the message about the toxicity of all cigarettes.

The study results are published in the June issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention. #

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