Washington: A new research has revealed that ‘harm reduction cigarettes’, marketed by tobacco companies as safer than conventional brands, could in fact, be more harmful.
Harm reduction cigarettes are made using complex filters or by genetically altering tobacco plants to reduce nicotine concentration.
Stem cell scientists at the University of California, Riverside have found that even sidestream smoke (which burns off the tip of a cigarette) from harm reduction cigarettes impairs growth of human embryonic stem cells more than sidestream smoke from a conventional brand.
"Our analyses show there is significant toxicity in harm reduction products, and our data show that reduction of carcinogens in harm reduction mainstream smoke does not necessarily reduce the toxicity of unfiltered sidestream smoke," said Prue Talbot, the director of UC Riverside`s Stem Cell Center.
"Embryonic stem cells provide the best model currently available for evaluating the effects of environmental toxicants on prenatal stages of development, which are usually the most sensitive to chemical stress," said Talbot, a professor of cell biology and neuroscience.
Talbot`s research team examined the following harm-reduction cigarette brands: Marlboro Lights, Advance Premium Lights, and Quest. The team used Marlboro Red cigarettes to represent conventional brands.
The team also found that sidestream smoke was consistently more potent to the embryonic stem cells than mainstream smoke, regardless of whether the cigarette brand was harm reduction or conventional.
Study results appear in the November issue of Toxicological Sciences.