NewsBriefs BUTTONS

Are Cigarette Filters Dangerous?


February 1995

Researchers are warning that cigarette filters can release particles that may get stuck in a smoker's lung (Suein L. Hwang, "Filter Bits May Lodge in Smokers' Lungs," Wall Street Journal, Jan. 13, 1995, p. B1).

A study published in the Jan. 15 Journal of Cancer Research finds that these filter bits may remain in smokers' lungs for months or even for life. Dr. John Paulty, the lead researcher in the study, said he has found pieces of cigarette filter in lung tissues taken from people with lung cancer.

Paulty inserted filter pieces in the lungs of mice and found that the bits remained there for six months. The study does not come to a conclusion about the health risks of these particles.

Most cigarette filters are made from cellulose acetate. Eastman Chemical Company and Hoechst Celanese Corporation are the leading suppliers of the material to cigarette companies.

"This certainly points out another potential hazard of cigarettes not emphasized before," said Neal Benowitz of the University of California at San Francisco.