Doctors Urge FDA To Tighten Regulations On Filtered 'Cigs'

  • 5/14/2017 2:22:08 PM
  • Larry Stine
  • Local News

COLUMBUS, OH - The overall numbers of people who develop lung cancers continues to go down in this country.

But a certain type of cancer found in the outer areas of the lung is actually on the rise and doctors think they know why.

As Clark Powell shows us, the issue may be how certain cigarettes are manufactured and that has doctors calling for changes.

Marsha Harris has always used exercise to help her cope with stress.

But for about a decade, she also relied on cigarettes.

She didn't like the harsh taste of most brands, so she opted for something smoother.

"I'm not even sure of what I chose, I just know it was menthol and it was light," Harris says.

Turns out, that may have taken an unexpected toll on her health, even though she hasn't smoked in more than 30 years.

Marsha is now being treated for lung cancer and smoking cigarettes with tiny holes near the filter may be the reason why.

"The tobacco burns more slowly, at a lower temperature," says Dr. Peter Shields. "This makes for relative amounts of more dangerous chemicals to be in the smoke."

Dr. Peter Shields is a thoracic oncologist at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

He says while most lung cancers are going down, a type known as Adenocarcinoma is going up.

In a new study, he says the design of certain cigarettes may be to blame.

Filtered cigarettes have tiny holes that allow smokers to breathe in the air along with smoke.

That makes them smoother but also forces more chemicals deeper into the lungs.

Now, Shields and his fellow researchers are calling for tough new regulations to drive down cases of cancer.

"Those filter holes is what's doing it," Dr. Shields says. "And we think there's enough evidence now the Food and Drug Administration can just say - 'Take the holes out'."

Something that would have made a difference for Marsha.

"I had tried non-menthol and didn't care for those," she says. "And I had tried stronger and didn't care for those either."

Had those been her only choices, Marsha may never have smoked in the first place.

At Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center, this is Clark Powell reporting.

Experts say holes were put in the filters to make the cigarettes smoother and make smokers think the smoke was less harmful.

In reality, it can lead to smoking more often and inhaling more harmful chemicals.

Doctors are urging the Food and Drug Administration to investigate further.

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