American Cigarettes Are More Toxic Than Other Countries

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A new study shows that American cigarettes are much more toxic than foreign brands according to scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The amount of tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) in U.S. brands is about triple that of brands from Australia, Canada or the United Kingdom says Dr. Jim Pirkle with the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health. 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 even more of the drugs linked to cancer.

Researchers measured chemicals in cigarette butts and were able to determine how much TSNA smokers were exposed to. In addition, they also used urine samples to find out how much of the TSNA was broken down in the body.

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Researchers found a correlation between the amounts of TSNA that entered a smoker's body and how much is broken down in the urine. "We will be able to use this biomarker in the urine to help us understand how much of the carcinogen exposure you are getting in your mouth and lungs," Pirkle said.
"There are two things in the paper that are disturbing to me," said Dr. Norman Edelman, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association. "First, it seems as if U.S. smokers get more exposure to this deadly carcinogen than smokers in other countries.

Edelman continues to say, “Second, there is the oblique suggestion that it might be worthwhile to try to reduce the levels of this carcinogen in tobacco smoke. This smacks of suggesting we make cigarettes 'safer.' However, there are dozens of carcinogens in cigarette smoke. There is no reason to believe that reducing one will make smoking safer. The only way to prevent cancer from smoking is to prevent smoking. Even hinting about making cigarettes safer is playing into the hands of the tobacco industry's campaign to promote 'harm reduction,' a thinly veiled attempt to keep up the sales of this deadly and totally unnecessary product."

Danny McGoldrick, vice president for research at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said “this study shows why the authority to issue product standards, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration now has, is critically important."

If the FDA determines that reducing the levels of TSNAs would be a public health benefit, it could order a change in all tobacco products on the market, McGoldrick added.

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