Association of cigarette type with lung cancer incidence and mortality

In a secondary analysis of data from the National Lung Screening Trial, researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina explored whether cigarette properties correlated with lung cancer outcomes. The sample included 14,123 trial participants who filled out detailed smoking questionnaires.

In a secondary analysis of data from the National Lung Screening Trial, researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina explored whether cigarette properties correlated with lung cancer outcomes. The sample included 14,123 trial participants who filled out detailed smoking questionnaires. Analysis revealed that most smoked filtered cigarettes and nearly one-half preferred light or ultralight brands. After adjusting for age, race, gender, pack years, nicotine dependence, and treatment arm, investigators determined that smokers of unfiltered cigarettes were almost 40% more likely to develop lung cancer and nearly twice as likely to die of it than smokers who chose filtered options. Mortality for any reason was also nearly 30% higher in smokers of unfiltered tobacco. Although filtered cigarettes appear to be a better option than their unfiltered counterparts, the researchers calculated the incidence of lung cancer deaths among filtered cigarette smokers at 1,600 per 100,000 persons. By comparison, the rate is just 34 per 100,000 persons for a cohort of individuals who never smoked. Meanwhile, researchers found no disparity in lung cancer outcomes when comparing light/ultralight or menthol smokers with regular cigarette smokers, possibly because smokers buy into the notion that lower-tar cigarettes are less dangerous and subsequently smoke more. The research confirms that all cigarette types present serious health risks, the authors conclude.