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Doctor claims American cigarettes have become more dangerous

Dr. David M. Burns has been a long-time campaigner against smoking.  He published or edited some of the seminal work on tobacco health issues, according to the New York Times, including surgeon general reports, National Cancer Institute monographs and World Health Organization studies.  On May 6, as Congress is considering whether or not to regulate cigarettes, Dr. Burns drew attention to the abstract of a current study which has not yet been published.  Dr. Burns pointed out that it appears that U.S. cigarettes have become almost twice as likely to cause lung cancer as they were in 1964.

Dr. Burns compared the American cigarettes, which are now cured by an accelerated method involving nitrogen fertilizers and propane heaters, to Australian cigarettes which are still made as cigarettes were made in the U.S. back when the original health warnings were devised.  He noted that the American curing process leads to the formation of nitrosamines, which are among 47 known animal or human carcinogens in cigarette smoke.  Dr. Burns believes this curing process explains why the frequency of deadly adenocarcinoma--the most common lung cancer among smokers--has steadily increased in the U.S. over the past fifty years, but not in Australia.

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