Gender Differences Relative to Smoking Behavior and Emissions of Toxins from Mainstream Cigarette Smoke

Melikian, Assieh A.; Djordjevic, Mirjana V.; Hosey, James; Zhang, Jie; Chen, Shuquan; Zang, Edith; Muscat, Joshua; Stellman, Steven D.

This study examined whether gender differences exist in the exposure to select mainstream cigarette smoke toxins as a result of differences in smoking behavior or type of cigarettes smoked among 129 female and 128 male smokers. Smoking topography data indicated that, compared with men, women took smaller puffs (37.6 ml/puff vs. 45.8 ml/puff; p = .0001) of shorter duration (1.33 s/puff vs. 1.48 s/puff; p = .002) but drew more puffs per cigarette (13.5 vs. 12.0; p = .001) and left longer butts (36.3 mm or 40.2% of cigarette length vs. 34.3 mm or 39.2% of cigarette length; p = .01). These trends were similar in both African Americans and European Americans. The emissions of select toxins per cigarette, as determined by mimicking human smoking behaviors were greater among the male smokers than the female smokers and correlated significantly with delivered smoke volume per cigarette. The geometric means of emissions of nicotine from cigarettes were 1.92 mg/cigarette (95% CI = 1.80-2.05) for women versus 2.20 (95% CI = 2.04-2.37) for men (p = .005). Cigarettes smoked by women yielded 139.5 ng/cigarette of 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK; 95% CI = 128.8-151.0), compared with 170.3 ng/cigarette (95% CI = 156.3-185.6) for men (p = .0007); benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) emissions were 18.0 ng/cigarette (95% CI = 17.0-19.0) for women and 20.5 ng/cigarette (95% CI = 18.8-22.3) for men (p = .01). The gender differences with regard to cigarette smoke yields of toxins were more profound in European Americans than in African Americans. On average, African American men's smoking habits produced the highest emissions of select toxins from cigarettes, and European American female smokers had the lowest exposure to carcinogens and toxins. Several studies have suggested that women may be more susceptible than men to the ill effects of carcinogens in tobacco and tobacco smoke, whereas other studies have not found differences in lung cancer risk between men and women. The present study suggests that gender differences in exposure to tobacco smoke cannot account for a higher rate of lung cancer in female smokers compared with male smokers.


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Nicotine & Tobacco Research

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October 3, 2014