• April 24, 2024

Ventilation in a hole

 Ventilation in a hole

An article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has suggested that the US Food and Drug Administration should consider regulating cigarette filter ventilation, up to and including a ban.

It further suggests a research agenda to support such an effort.

A short background to the article says that Filter ventilation was adopted in the mid-1960s and was initially equated with making cigarettes safer. But since then, lung adenocarcinoma rates had paradoxically increased relative to other lung cancer subtypes.

Filter ventilation is said to alter tobacco consumption in such a way as to increase smoke toxicants. It is said to allow for elasticity of use so that smokers inhale more smoke to maintain their nicotine intake. And it is said to cause a false perception of lower health risk from ‘lighter’ smoke.

Little of this seems particularly new. The problems caused by changes in smoking behavior with the advent of low-delivery cigarettes were identified long ago, though the emphasis on filter ventilation is more recent.

The background says that the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report on smoking and health concluded that changing cigarette designs had caused an increase in lung adenocarcinomas, implicating cigarette filter ventilation that lowers smoking machine tar yields.

The lead author of a recent study has said that research data suggests a clear relationship between the addition of ventilation holes to cigarettes and increasing rates of lung adenocarcinoma seen over the past 20 years.

The study, by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, and five other universities/cancer centers, was the subject of a story in EurekAlert! relayed by the TMA.

The lead author, Professor Peter Shields said that what was especially concerning was that these ventilation holes were still added to virtually all cigarettes smoked today.

Shields said the FDA had a public health obligation to take immediate regulatory action to eliminate the use of ventilation holes on cigarettes.

He said it was a complicated process to enact such regulations, but that there was more than enough data to start the process.

“Such an action would drive down the use and toxicity of conventional cigarettes, and drive smokers to either quit or use less harmful products,” he said.