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      Tobacco Smoke: Involvement of Reactive Oxygen Species and Stable Free Radicals in Mechanisms of Oxidative Damage, Carcinogenesis and Synergistic Effects with Other Respirable Particles


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          Tobacco smoke contains many toxic, carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals, as well as stable and unstable free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the particulate and the gas phase with the potential for biological oxidative damage. Epidemiological evidence established that smoking is one of the most important extrinsic factor of premature morbidity and mortality. The objective of this study was to investigate oxidative and carcinogenic mechanisms of tobacco and synergistic action with other respirable particles in the respiratory system of smokers. Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) and spin-trapping techniques were used to study stable free radicals in the cigarette tar, and unstable superoxide anion (O 2 •−) and hydroxyl (HO ) radicals in the smoke Results showed that the semiquinone radical system has the potential for redox recycling and oxidative action. Further, results proved that aqueous cigarette tar (ACT) solutions can generate adducts with DNA nucleobases, particularly the mutagenic 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine (a biomarker for carcinogenesis). Also, we observed synergistic effects in the generation of HO , through the Fenton reaction, with environmental respirable particles (asbestos fibres, coal dust, etc.) and ambient particulate matter (PM), such as PM 10, PM 2.5 and diesel exhaust particles (DEP). The highest synergistic effects was observed with the asbestos fibres (freshly grounded), PM 2.5 and DEP. Finally, we discuss results from our previous study of conventional cellulose acetate filters and “bio-filters” with hemoglobin impregnated activated carbon, which showed that these filters do not substantially alter the free radical content of smoke in the particulate and in the gaseous phase.

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          Lack of effect of long-term supplementation with beta carotene on the incidence of malignant neoplasms and cardiovascular disease.

          Observational studies suggest that people who consume more fruits and vegetables containing beta carotene have somewhat lower risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease, and earlier basic research suggested plausible mechanisms. Because large randomized trials of long duration were necessary to test this hypothesis directly, we conducted a trial of beta carotene supplementation. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of beta carotene (50 mg on alternate days), we enrolled 22,071 male physicians, 40 to 84 years of age, in the United States; 11 percent were current smokers and 39 percent were former smokers at the beginning of the study in 1982. By December 31, 1995, the scheduled end of the study, fewer than 1 percent had been lost to follow-up, and compliance was 78 percent in the group that received beta carotene. Among 11,036 physicians randomly assigned to receive beta carotene and 11,035 assigned to receive placebo, there were virtually no early or late differences in the overall incidence of malignant neoplasms or cardiovascular disease, or in overall mortality. In the beta carotene group, 1273 men had any malignant neoplasm (except nonmelanoma skin cancer), as compared with 1293 in the placebo group (relative risk, 0.98; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.91 to 1.06). There were also no significant differences in the number of cases of lung cancer (82 in the beta carotene group vs. 88 in the placebo group); the number of deaths from cancer (386 vs. 380), deaths from any cause (979 vs. 968), or deaths from cardiovascular disease (338 vs. 313); the number of men with myocardial infarction (468 vs. 489); the number with stroke (367 vs. 382); or the number with any one of the previous three end points (967 vs. 972). Among current and former smokers, there were also no significant early or late differences in any of these end points. In this trial among healthy men, 12 years of supplementation with beta carotene produced neither benefit nor harm in terms of the incidence of malignant neoplasms, cardiovascular disease, or death from all causes.
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            Estimates of global mortality attributable to smoking in 2000.

            Smoking is a risk factor for several diseases and has been increasing in many developing countries. Our aim was to estimate global and regional mortality in 2000 caused by smoking, including an analysis of uncertainty. Following the methods of Peto and colleagues, we used lung-cancer mortality as an indirect marker for accumulated smoking risk. Never-smoker lung-cancer mortality was estimated based on the household use of coal with poor ventilation. Relative risks were taken from the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study, phase II, and the retrospective proportional mortality analysis of Liu and colleagues in China. Relative risks were corrected for confounding and extrapolation to other regions. We estimated that in 2000, 4.83 (uncertainty range 3.94-5.93) million premature deaths in the world were attributable to smoking; 2.41 (1.80-3.15) million in developing countries and 2.43 (2.13-2.78) million in industrialised countries. 3.84 million of these deaths were in men. The leading causes of death from smoking were cardiovascular diseases (1.69 million deaths), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (0.97 million deaths), and lung cancer (0.85 million deaths). Smoking was an important cause of global mortality in 2000. In view of the expected demographic and epidemiological transitions and current smoking patterns in the developing world, the health loss due to smoking will grow even larger unless effective interventions and policies that reduce smoking among men and prevent increases among women in developing countries are implemented.
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              Biochemistry, biology, and carcinogenicity of tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines.


                Author and article information

                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
                February 2009
                2 February 2009
                : 6
                : 2
                : 445-462
                Department of Chemistry, Free Radical Research Group, University of Athens, University Campus Zografou, 15784 Athens, Greece
                Author notes
                [* ]Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; Tel.: 00-30-210-7274479; Fax: 00-30-210-7274761; E-Mail: valavanidis@ 123456chem.uoa.gr
                © 2009 by the authors; licensee Molecular Diversity Preservation International, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

                : 12 November 2008
                : 25 January 2009

                Public health
                tobacco smoke,mechanisms of carcinogenicity,synergistic effects,oxidative stress,reactive oxygen species,free radicals


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