U.S. Cigarettes Contain More Carcinogens

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U.S. cigarettes contain about three times the amount of cancer-causing chemicals as foreign brands, report researchers at the CDC.

The Study

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at the levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs) in cigarette butts and smokers from the U.S., Australia, Canada, and the UK. Nitrosamines are a main carcinogenic chemical found in tobacco.

A comparison across countries showed that U.S. brand cigarettes have around triple the nitrosamine levels of brands from Australia, Canada, and the UK.

Why Is This Important?

You might think that all cigarettes are the same, but they can actually vary quite a bit in the levels of carcinogens they deliver to smokers. And while many people think that foreign cigarettes are stronger or more potent, this study suggests the opposite may be true. The variation in TSNA levels is largely due to the different tobacco blends used by cigarette producers--the "American blend" of tobacco results in cigarettes with higher TSNA levels.

Lower TSNA levels don't mean that a cigarette brand is safe, however. Cigarette smoke contains a number of other carcinogens that also endanger the health of smokers. While reducing the levels of TSNAs found in American cigarettes could result in health benefits to the public, quitting is still your best option.

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