Science News

Low Tar Cigarettes As Bad As Medium Tar

Sun, 11th Jan 2004

Part of the show Cancer, Cancer Diagnosis and Chemotherapy

New research from the US has shown that the risk of lung cancer is no different in people who smoke medium, low or even very low tar cigarettes. The researchers looked at the tar-rating of cigarettes smoked over a 6 year period by over 570,000 women and 360,000 men over the age of 30. They found that, obviously, the smokers had a much higher risk of lung cancer compared with non smokers, or people who were ex-smokers, but surprisingly there was no difference in the cancer rates between people smoking medium, low tar or very low tar brands. People who smoked high tar, unfiltered, cigarettes did have a higher cancer rate. The authors explain that people tend to smoke lower tar cigarettes more intensively, to make up for the lower nicotine level in a low tar cigarette, and so any benefit of switching to a lower tar brand seems to be lost.


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