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'Light' and Regular Cigarettes Impair Coronary Blood Flow

Both impair flow to similar degree

TUESDAY, May 15 (HealthDay News) -- "Light" cigarettes, which are lower in tar and nicotine, impair coronary blood flow just as much as regular cigarettes, according to research published online May 13 in Heart.

Hakan Gullu, M.D., and colleagues from Baskent University in Ankara, Turkey, compared coronary flow velocity reserve (CFVR) in 20 smokers of regular cigarettes, 20 smokers of light cigarettes and 22 non-smokers, who had a mean age of 25 years. CFVR was examined by echocardiography after a 12-hour period of not smoking or eating and again 20 to 30 minutes after subjects smoked two of their usual cigarettes.

The researchers found that the baseline CFVR values were similar in both groups of smokers and were significantly lower than the CFVR in non-smokers. After smoking, CFVR values fell significantly and to a similar level in both groups of smokers.

"Smoking of low-tar, low-nicotine cigarettes impairs the CFVR as severely as smoking regular cigarettes," Gullu and colleagues conclude. "Our study suggests that reducing the nicotine and tar yield is not sufficient for a cigarette to be called less hazardous, and other noxious compounds in cigarettes continue to compromise human health."

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