Quit Smoking – Organ-Specific Carcinogens in Tobacco Smoke

Beginning in World War I (~1914) annual cigarette consumption in U.S. increased in men, followed by women, reaching a peak of 4336 cigarettes per capita in 1963. (Approximately 216 packs of cigarettes per person).

After the Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee report, released in 1964, concluded that cigarette smoking is one of the most important risk factors for lung cancer, per capita consumption of cigarettes declined to less than 3000 in 1995. (Approx. 150 packs of cigarettes per person)

Among children and adolescents, smoking continues to be a major public health problem; early exposure to carcinogens in tobacco smoke may increase the risk of developing lung cancer.

Smoking also interacts with other environmental and occupational exposures in an additive or synergistic fashion. The most important example of such synergism is the increase in risk of lung cancer in cigarette smokers exposed to asbestos.

Organ-Specific Carcinogens in Tobacco Smoke
Organ Carcinogen
Lung, larynx Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
4-(Methylnitrosoamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-buta-none (NNK)
Polonium 210
Esophagus N’-Nitrosonornicotine (NNN)
Pancreas NNK (?)
Bladder 4-Aminobiphenyl, 2-naphthylamine
Oral cavity (smoking) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, NNK, NNN
Oral cavity (snuff) NNK, NNN, polonium 210
Data from Szczesny LB, Holbrook JH: Cigarette smoking. In Rom WH (ed): Environmental and Occupational Medicine, 2nd ed. Boston, Little, Brown, 1992, p. 1211.



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