Narrator: This is Science Today. Tobacco-related lung cancer kills hundreds of thousands of Americans each year and it's not a colorblind killer. A University of California, San Francisco study found that different ethnic groups are affected by the disease at dramatically different rates. Dr. Neal Benowitz, who led the study, explains.Benowitz: The most interesting finding in our study is that African Americans take in about 30 percent more nicotine per cigarette; Chinese Americans take in about 30 percent less. So, per cigarette smoked, African Americans are exposed to more carcinogens and Chinese Americans to fewer carcinogens.
Narrator: Chinese Americans also metabolize nicotine more slowly than other smokers, so they need less of the drug to get the same effect. Benowitz says that the study could lead to more effective cancer prevention.
Benowitz: If we understand how people are different and why some people are at higher risk and why some people are more addicted than others we might be able to then use those mechanisms as sites for intervention.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.