Editorials

The global cigarette

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7069.1348 (Published 30 November 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1348
  1. Nigel Gray
  1. President Union Internationale contra Cancer Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Istituto Europea Oncologia, Via Ripamonti 435, 20141, Milano, Italy

    12 mg of tar and 1 mg of nicotine by 2000

    The time is ripe for a serious attempt to reduce the tar and nicotine content of cigarettes worldwide. Progress against tobacco associated disease, described in the BMJ as early as 19501 and decisively quantified in 1994,2 has been painfully slow. As smoking increases in less developed countries the global burden of avoidable disease will soar.3 There are no satisfactory excuses for ignoring any available measures which can minimise this.

    At an individual level, the dose of carcinogen reaching the lung is determined by the number of cigarettes smoked over time, the tar content of the cigarette, the degree of inhalation (which may well depend on the nicotine content), and the size of the butt which is left. At a global level, mortality from lung cancer is determined by the same parameters and by the number of smokers in the world.

    Since the 1980s it has been accepted that reducing …

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