Recent data from the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial shed some light on a topic I had not considered before, namely, how the type of cigarette used influences nicotine dependence.  Following the 1964 Surgeon General report on smoking, cigarette companies in response to consumer demand for a “safer” cigarette, made changes in cigarette construction and marketing.  The National Lung Cancer Screening Trial population is ideally suited for this study since many of the patients continue to smoke and are highly addicted to nicotine.

Regardless of any changes made, cigarette smoking is still responsible for 80% of lung cancer diagnoses, which is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Despite improvements in cancer treatment, the overall 5 year lung cancer survival rate is 18%, which highlights the need for prevention, as well as continued surveillance of current or former smokers.  Previous data has shown that a 7-year smoking abstinence results in a 20% reduction in lung cancer-specific mortality, and when coupled with low dose lung cancer screening, there is a 38% reduction in mortality.

I encourage all readers to get a copy of the next issue of Breathe Magazine tentatively due out early February 2021.  I will be writing a longer and more informative article about how cigarette companies have misled the public about the “safety” of their products.  Until then, know this, there is no “safe” cigarette.  No changes in construction or marketing have reduced the dire consequences of cigarette smoking.  Remember to get and read the magazine.