Lung cancer on the rise due to low tar cigarettes
In the US, 36 millions of people smoke. Despite a decrease in tobacco use, with now only 15% of Americans aged 15 and more that smoke, compared with 42% in 1965, 40% of the cancers diagnosed in the country are linked to tobacco use.
And every year in the US, tobacco causes 500 000 premature deaths.
A study that relies on the works of 5 distinct Cancer Research Centers in the US was recently published in the National Cancer Institute Journal. It concludes that the consumption of ‘light cigarettes’, with ventilated filters, could be the cause of the rise in adenocarcinoma type cancers over the past 50 years.
This cancer develops deep down in the lungs and is today the most common form of cancers among smokers. Results of the study confirm what searchers were fearing. This clearly goes against tobacco industry claims according to which these light cigarettes would be less harmful.
Ventilated filters with drilled wholes reached the market more than 50 years ago. “The analysis […] clearly suggests that there is a link between the number of holes that were added to cigarette filters and an increase of the prevalence of lungs adenocarcinoma over the past 20 years”, explains one of the study authors Dr. Peter Shields, vice-director of the Cancer Research Center of the Ohio University.
Actually, ventilated filters of light cigarettes make smokers inhale smoke where carcinogenic and toxins components are more highly concentrated. “These filters modify the tobacco combustion, which leads to a high production of carcinogenic elements. These fine particles reach the deepest parts of the lungs where adenocarcinoma develop most frequently”, Dr. Shields explains.
Searchers hope the results of this study will strongly appeal to the US FDA (Food and Drugs Administration). They push for a regulation and even a ban of ventilated filters.
They also believe that new studies will be necessary to analyze whether getting rid of filter holes will (or will not) increase nicotine addiction. But also lead to a higher exposition to harmful cigarette components.