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Nicotine Metabolism May Explain Ethnic Variations in Lung Cancer Rates

Nicotine Metabolism May Explain Ethnic Variations in Lung Cancer Rates

SAN FRANCISCO—Chinese-Americans take in significantly less nicotine per cigarette than whites and Latinos, allowing Chinese-American smokers to smoke fewer cigarettes than their ethnic counterparts to achieve the same nicotine-related effects, a new study suggests.

The Chinese-American smokers metabolized nicotine 35% more slowly than the white or Latino smokers in the study, and the rate of nicotine metabolism correlated significantly with nicotine intake from cigarette smoke.

These findings may explain why Chinese-Americans have a lower rate of lung cancer than other ethnic groups, concluded Neal L. Benowitz, MD, and his colleagues at the University of California at San Francisco (J Natl Cancer Inst 94:108-115, 2002).

 
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