CDC: Marlboros more dangerous than overseas brands - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

CDC: Marlboros more dangerous than overseas brands

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May 30, 2003

(Atlanta-AP) -- Federal officials say that U.S.-made Marlboro cigarettes contains up to twice the dose of a major tobacco carcinogen as foreign-brand cigarettes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today that scientists there compared levels of nitrosamine in Marlboros with foreign brands in 13 countries, including 10 of the world's most populous areas.

In 11 of the countries, the local brands had much lower levels than Marlboro. David Ashley, chief of the CDC's emergency response and air toxicants branch of the National Center for Environmental Health, says the study proves that it is possible for the manufacturer to reduce the levels of this carcinogen.

Nitrosamines are formed during the curing, processing, fermentation and burning of tobacco.

Although only Marlboros were studied, Ashley says CDC officials believe most U.S. cigarette brands have higher nitrosamine levels because they use American blended tobacco. In the study, CDC officials stationed overseas purchased 15 packs each of Marlboros and foreign brands. Marlboros were chosen because they are the only US. cigarette found in all the countries selected.

Foreign cigarettes with lower nitrosamine levels typically are made with a single kind of tobacco.

Philip Morris USA officials says the company is working with US. tobacco growers on curing methods that will reduce levels of the carcinogen. Spokesman Brendan McCormick says the company also is working to reduce levels of other potentially harmful chemicals inside cigarette smoke.

In the United States, Marlboros were compared with Doral cigarettes. Both brands had about the same nitrosamine levels, higher than most foreign brands tested.

The CDC warned that nitrosamines are not the only carcinogen in cigarette smoke and that reducing their levels alone does not guarantee a less hazardous cigarette.

posted at 2:40PM by dave.miller@walb.com