06 September 2007

Hand-rolled smokes unhealthier

Smokers of hand-rolled cigarettes face a greater risk of developing lung cancer than those who smoke manufactured cigarettes, a study suggests.

Smokers of hand-rolled cigarettes tend to consume less tobacco, but face a greater risk of developing lung cancer than those who smoke manufactured cigarettes, a study on Norwegian lung cancer patients has found.

Norway is one of the last Western countries that still use a significant amount of hand-rolled tobacco, amounting to one-third of tobacco sales, according to the study released on Wednesday.

Higher lung cancer risk
While smokers of hand-rolled cigarettes "consumed (fewer) cigarettes, and statistically had fewer years of smoking, hand-rolled cigarettes were more carcinogenic, resulting in a higher incidence of lung cancer development", the study by Heidi Rolke, of Norway's Sorlandet Hospital, said.

The paper was presented at the World Conference on Lung Cancer in Seoul.

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world, with more than 570 000 people in Asia dying from it each year, or 1 every minute. Globally, it kills 1.3 million people each year.

More than 80 percent of patients who had lung cancer in the study of 333 people primarily smoked hand-rolled cigarettes. Hand-rolled cigarettes tended to be loosely packed with tobacco, but had significantly higher nicotine and tar content because they were rolled without filters, Rolke said on a telephone briefing.

Similar findings from US
Jonathan Samet of Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health said similar findings had been documented in the higher rate of cancer among Hispanic women in the southwestern United States who tended to hand roll cigarettes.

"There is, perhaps, an indication that we should be concerned if rising prices for manufactured cigarettes would lead to substitutions," Samet said. – (Reuters Health)

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September 2007


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