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Smoking More Likely to Give You Lung Cancer Today

A UCSD Med School professor says smoking cigarettes today is twice as likely to give you lung cancer as it was in the 1960s. KPBS reporter Tom Fudge has more.

The study by professor emeritus David Burns compared U.S. lung cancer death rates over time. It determined that the risk of lung cancer has doubled, over the past 40 years, for people smoking the same number of cigarettes. One reason for this is the increased use of filtered cigarettes. These cigarettes deliver just as much nicotine and tar. But smokers draw on them harder to get their fix. That pulls carcinogens further into the lungs, causing a greater variety of cancers. Burns also says the modern process of curing tobacco in the U.S. creates a cancer-causing chemical called nitrosamine. He found countries with less of this chemical in their cigarettes have lower rates of some cancers. A tobacco-industry spokesman points out that Burns's research is unpublished. Burns says his study will be published soon and he hopes the industry will react to it then. Tom Fudge, KPBS news.