‘Safe’ cigarettes more toxic than regular ones: Study

October 21st, 2010 - 4:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 21 (IANS) ‘Safe’ cigarettes, supposed to have lower levels of nicotine than conventional ones, may be even more harmful, a study says.

Stem cell scientists at the University of California, Riverside, found that even sidestream smoke (produced by the burning of the cigarette tip) from so-called safer versions is more harmful to the growth of human embryonic stem cells.

“Harm reduction products are not necessarily safer than their conventional counterparts,” said Prue Talbot, director of University of California Stem Cell Centre, who led the research, reports the journal Toxicological Sciences.

“Our analyses show that there is significant toxicity in harm reduction products, and reduction of carcinogens in harm reduction mainstream smoke does not necessarily reduce the toxicity of unfiltered sidestream smoke.”

Researchers developed tests with human embryonic stem cells, which are similar to young embryos, to compare the toxicity of mainstream (inhaled) smoke and sidestream smoke from both conventional and harm reduction cigarette brands.

Talbot’s group also found that sidestream smoke was consistently more harmful to the embryonic stem cells than mainstream smoke, regardless of whether the cigarette brand was harm-reduction or regular.

Talbot’s research team examined the following harm-reduction cigarette brands: Marlboro Lights, Advance Premium Lights, and Quest. The team used Marlboro Red cigarettes to represent conventional brands.

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