Jan. 25, 2006 -- Blacks and native Hawaiians who smoke may be particularly vulnerable to lung cancer, a new study shows.
The study tracked lung cancer among more than 183,000 people of various ethnic groups over eight years. Lung cancer is the No. 1 cause of cancer deaths for U.S. adults.
Among people who reported smoking fewer than 30 daily cigarettes, blacks and native Hawaiians were more likely than whites, Japanese-Americans, and Hispanics to develop lung cancer.
Heavy smoking (more than 30 cigarettes per day) threatened all races about the same, states the study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The researchers included Christopher Haiman, ScD, of the preventive medicine department at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles.
Lung Cancer Study
Men and women in California and Hawaii took part in the study. The researchers chose them randomly from government records, including lists of registered voters and people with driver's licenses.
The findings echo other studies but are hard to explain, the researchers note. They add that other factors -- like participants' intake of fruits and vegetables -- didn't explain the results.
Nicotine and tobacco smoke may work a bit differently in different ethnic groups, write Haiman and colleagues. They call for studies to probe that possibility.