Unfiltered cigarettes tied to higher lung cancer likelihood and mortality

  • JAMA Intern Med

  • curated by Kelli Whitlock Burton
  • Univadis Clinical Summaries
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Takeaway

  • Unfiltered cigarette smokers were nearly 40% more likely to develop lung cancer and nearly twice as likely to die from the disease as filtered cigarette smokers.
  • Mortality rates were similar between light or ultralight cigarette smokers and those who smoked regular cigarettes.

Why this matters

  • Low-tar cigarettes are marketed by tobacco companies as less risky than regular cigarettes, despite the similar mortality rates between regular and light/ultralight cigarettes.

Study design

  • Secondary data analysis of 14,123 National Lung Screening Trial participants.
  • Funding: Medical University of South Carolina.

Key results

  • 50% of participants were current smokers.
  • 88% smoked filtered cigarettes, 33% smoked light cigarettes, and 11.1% smoked ultralight cigarettes.
  • Unfiltered cigarette smokers had a significantly greater risk for lung cancer (HR, 1.37; P=.005), lung cancer-specific mortality (HR, 1.96; P<.001 and all-cause mortality p=".003)" compared with filtered cigarette smokers.>
  • Light/ultralight or flavored smokers had similar lung cancer-specific and all-cause mortality rates as regular cigarette smokers.

Limitations

  • None listed.