Tobacco in cigarettes contaminated with mold
TORONTO (Reuters Health) - If the fact that smoking increases your risk of lung cancer isn't enough to make you kick the habit, maybe this will: tobacco in cigarettes is contaminated with a variety of molds.
In a study of 98 cigarettes with and without filters, 63 were found to be contaminated with a number of different types of mold, researchers reported here on Wednesday at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology.
The investigators from the Netherlands tested cigarettes from 14 different commercial brands as well as 7 samples of marijuana. They also analyzed the smoke from burning cigarettes and marijuana.
The most common species of mold detected was Aspergillus fumigatus, a common cause of infections, according to Dr. Paul Verweij of the University Medical Center in Nijmegen.
``If you look at all infections caused by molds, 90% are caused by Aspergillus,'' he noted. Such molds could be hazardous to the health, particularly those with weakened immune systems.
``Tobacco itself is a source of fungal spores and it should be recognized that this is a source of potential infection, especially in patients with compromised immune systems like those on chemotherapy, or who have received organ transplants, or people with AIDS (news - web sites),'' he said.
Marijuana contained higher levels of mold than the cigarettes, but none of the samples contain Aspergillus. Instead, the marijuana was ``highly contaminated with Penicillium,'' Verweij said, which is not considered harmful.
``Much to our surprise, we found that none of the smoke samples contained any of the mold,'' Verweij told Reuters Health.