July 9, 2019 – Smoking Toxicity


Anchor lead: Are cigarettes more toxic for blacks than other ethnic groups? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Smoking causes lung cancer, and it may be more dangerous for blacks than for whites, a recent study found. Otis Brawley, professor of oncology and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins, describes the findings.

Brawley: It seems like in black Americans the number of pack years to get lung cancer is lower than in white Americans. A pack year is a pack of cigarettes per day for one year. They don’t realize that there’s a literature out there that a pack year as a measurement of smoke inhalation varies by socioeconomics, varies by culture. :30

Brawley notes that some groups inhale more deeply and smoke their cigarettes more completely, and may therefore experience more of the toxic effects of smoking. He cautions that making assertions of risk based on ethnicity is often disproved when other factors are identified. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.