Monday, May 18, 2009
It may be riskier on the lungs to smoke cigarettes today than it was a few decades ago — at least in the U.S.
New research suggests changes in cigarette design may fuel a certain type of lung cancer.
While the nation's total lung cancer cases have inched down as the number of smokers has dropped in recent years, the study suggests an individual smoker's risk of getting cancer is higher.
Dr. David Burns of the University of California, San Diego, told a recent meeting of tobacco researchers that nitrosamine content may be factor. The chemical is a byproduct of tobacco processing, and there's less of it in cigarettes sold in Australia than it those sold in the U.S.
Burns finds that could be behind higher rates of adenocarcinoma in the U.S. than in Australia.
Burns says the evidence is circumstantial and requires more research.