Smoking long or ultralong cigarettes increases risk of lung cancer

October 28, 2013

Smokers of long or ultralong cigarettes are at greater risk for lung and oral cancer than smokers of regular and king-size cigarettes, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, Center for Global Tobacco Control.

"We found that of smokers of long or ultralong have higher concentrations of tobacco specific carcinogens in their urine than smokers of regular or king size cigarettes," said Constantine Vardavas, MD, senior research scientist, Harvard School of Public Health.

Vardavas and colleagues compared among 3,699 smokers of regular, king-sized and long or ultralong cigarettes using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) from 2007-2010. Smokers of king-sized cigarettes accounted for 53% of total smokers, smokers of long or ultralong cigarettes constituted 31.5%, and smokers of regular-sized cigarettes made up the remaining 15.4% of the smoker population. They found that smokers of long or ultralong cigarettes had significantly higher levels of NNAL—an indicator of tobacco-specific carcinogen—in their urine. In addition, researchers found that older , non-Hispanic blacks, and females had a greater tendency to smoke long or ultralong cigarettes.

"While the significant risks of smoking are well known and accepted, very little information exists on the health risks of different sizes of cigarettes," said Darcy Marciniuk, MD, FCCP and President of the ACCP. "This study indicates that there is an added risk to those smoking long and ultralong cigarettes."

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