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  1. Glenys Hughes

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    Measuring blood carboxyhaemoglobin level could be a better method of assessing the harmful effects of smoking cigarettes than number smoked. Over 7000 men and women from two Scottish towns were screened after measurement of carboxyhaemoglobin levels halfway through a study lasting between 1972 and 1976, with outcome measures consisting of death up to 25 years after the study. Positive relations were found between carboxyhaemoglobin level and all causes of mortality analysed, which remained relatively strong after adjustment for self reported cigarette smoking. The authors suggest that measuring blood carboxyhaemoglobin level may identify previously underestimated risks because of people’s natural tendency to under-report their tobacco consumption, and also for the fact that it measures factors such as depth of inhalation and how much of each cigarette is smoked—impossible for data gathered through self reported number of cigarettes smoked. (Heart published online 6 Jun 2005; doi:10.1136/hrt.2005.065185)


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