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Cigarettes Harbor Many Pathogenic Bacteria

Cigarettes are "widely contaminated" with bacteria, including some known to cause disease in people, concludes a new international study conducted by a University of Maryland environmental health researcher and microbial ecologists at the Ecole Centrale de Lyon in France.

The research team describes the study as the first to show that "cigarettes themselves could be the direct source of exposure to a wide array of potentially pathogenic microbes among smokers and other people exposed to secondhand smoke." Still, the researchers caution that the public health implications are unclear and urge further research.

"We were quite surprised to identify such a wide variety of human bacterial pathogens in these products," says lead researcher Amy R. Sapkota, an assistant professor in the University of Maryland's School of Public Health.
 
 

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