Because the SEER database did not collect information on smoking demographics, the researchers said they subsequently sifted through a wide range of additional data covering 50 years of U.S. cigarette production and consumer habits in search of an underlying explanation.
Strauss and his colleagues said they found that the wide-scale adoption of filtered and low-tar cigarettes closely tracked the jump in adenocarcinoma rates.
Filtered cigarettes went from 1 percent of the U.S. market in 1950 to 64 percent by 1964. By 1986, filtered cigarettes had captured 95 percent of the market; by 2007 that figure was 98 percent.
"And while adenocarcinoma of the lung has always existed, it is now the most common form of lung cancer, and probably the second most common cause of cancer death," said Strauss. "Probably more people die specifically of smoking-related adenocarcinoma today than die of colon cancer."
"So while nothing is really new here, we're putting it all together," he said. And what emerges, he added, is the story of a tobacco industry that years back actively changed its product to minimize its known connection to certain types of cancers, thereby giving birth to a whole new carcinogenic threat and an even bigger lung cancer killer.
"And so now I'm hoping that there will be a recognition that the tobacco industry actually created this deadly epidemic of smoking-related adenocarcinoma through decades of deception," Strauss said.
The results of several other international studies were also presented this week at the South Korea conference, including a Norwegian finding that hand-rolled cigarettes are more carcinogenic than pre-packaged cigarettes, resulting in a higher risk for lung cancer.
Another study, out of Japan, showed that people with a family history of lung cancer
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