Research Article

Carbon monoxide yield of cigarettes and its relation to cardiorespiratory disease.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 287 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.287.6405.1583 (Published 26 November 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;287:1583
  1. C Borland,
  2. A Chamberlain,
  3. T Higenbottam,
  4. M Shipley,
  5. G Rose

    Abstract

    Estimates of the carbon monoxide yield of their cigarettes have been obtained for 4910 smokers (68% of all smokers) in the Whitehall study of men aged 40 to 64. In the 10 years after examination 635 men died. When men smoking cigarettes with high carbon monoxide yield were compared with those smoking cigarettes with a low yield, and after adjusting for age, employment grade, amount smoked, and tar yield, the risk of death was 32% lower for coronary heart disease, 49% higher for lung cancer, and 10% lower for total mortality; these differences were not statistically significant. Among men who said that they inhaled the risk of fatal coronary heart disease was 51% lower in the high carbon monoxide group (p less than 0.01), while the risk of lung cancer was 75% higher. These results provide no evidence that a smoker can reduce his risk of death by smoking a brand with a low carbon monoxide yield; he might even increase it. The complex interactions between characteristics of the smoker, smoking behaviour, constituents of tobacco smoke, and health are again demonstrated.