Cigarette Design Tied to Higher Lung Cancer Risks

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has issued a statement regarding a new study showing a link between cigarette design and rising rates of <"">lung cancer.

Smoking-linked lung cancer kills over 125,000 Americans annually and causes a variety of other cancers, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other serious illnesses that adversely affect just about every part of the body. According to the statement, smoking is the overall leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing over 400,000 Americans and costing the U.S. an astounding $96 billion in health care bills annually.

According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the risk for smokers in the U.S. has increased exponentially over the past 40 years, finding the risk of developing lung cancer today versus developing lung cancer from cigarettes 40 years ago has likely doubled. According to the release, the new study has concluded changes in cigarette design are the probable cause for the increase and that tobacco product regulation could go a long way toward reducing lung cancer. “These data suggest that up to one half of current lung cancer occurrence may be attributable to changes in cigarette design and correspondingly that current lung cancer rates might be reduced by up to 50 percent through regulatory control of cigarette design and composition,” according to the study, quoted the release.

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The findings were presented at the 2009 Joint Conference of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) and SRNT-Europe in Dublin, Ireland; David Burns and Christy Anderson from the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine conducted the study. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Dr. Burns is a well-known tobacco control scientist who has served as either an author, editor, or a senior reviewer of each of the U.S. Surgeon General reports on tobacco since 1975; edited a series of tobacco control monographs for the National Cancer Institute; and is a member of the World Health Organization Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation. The research compared rates in the U.S. to those in Australia over a 40-year period.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said the study provides compelling evidence that explains that how cigarettes are designed and manufactured is connected to tobacco-linked death and illnesses and that effective tobacco product regulation can reduce disease and death. The organization also called for quick Congressional action for legislation to allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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(FDA) regulatory authority over tobacco products. Today, no government agency has authority to regulate tobacco products; therefore, tobacco makers can manufacture products in any way they choose, including adding toxins and carcinogens and making products more deadly and addictive without public or government oversight.

Pending legislation would enable for the first time, the FDA authority to regulate the manufacture, marketing, and sale of tobacco products, including authority to require changes to product design and contents, such as reducing or eliminating harmful chemicals. The bill would also require tobacco companies to disclose the contents of their products, research about their products, and changes to their products. The new law would ban secret changes to tobacco products and would strengthen the way in which such products are marketed and sold to children, including larger and sterner warnings and regulating health claims. Regulations are to be funded by a user fee paid by tobacco companies.

The legislation was approved by a majority vote last month in the House of Representatives; President Obama strongly supports the legislation.

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