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Lung Cancer Awareness Month: Standards Support Anti-Smoking Efforts

Each year, November is observed as Lung Cancer Awareness Month, part of a nationwide effort to bolster understanding about lung cancer and related issues. More than 25% of all cancer deaths are attributed to lung cancer, making it the deadliest type of cancer in the country. In recognition of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) takes a look a variety of voluntary consensus standards and other related documents that provide important support to lung health and anti-smoking efforts.

Lung cancer is often closely linked to smoking, with about 90% of lung cancer deaths resulting from long-term exposure to cigarette smoke. This smoke contains more than 60 different carcinogens, including nicotine - a major factor in smoking addiction - and carbon monoxide. When it enters the human body, carbon monoxide can prevent red blood cells from carrying sufficient oxygen, damaging important tissues and cells. ISO/TR 22305, Cigarettes - Measurement of nicotine-free dry particulate matter, nicotine, water and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke - Analysis of data from collaborative studies reporting relationships between repeatability, reproducibility and tolerances, a technical report developed by International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 126, Tobacco Products, sets down the tolerance for checks of carbon monoxide yields declared by various cigarette manufacturers. The Tobacco Science Research Conference, an ANSI member, serves as the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Administrator to ISO TC 126.

While smoking significantly raises your risk of developing lung cancer, smokers aren't the only ones to suffer negative health consequences - secondhand smoke can also pose risks. Exposure to secondhand smoke can be measured by testing indoor air for chemicals commonly found in tobacco smoke, including nicotine. ASTM D5075-01(2012)e1, Standard Test Method for Nicotine and 3-Ethenylpyridine in Indoor Air, provides a test method for the sampling of nicotine and 3-ethenylpyridine (3-EP) in air found indoors through the adsorption of these chemicals on a sorbent resin and subsequent determination by gas chromatography. The standard was developed by ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator.

While the negative health impacts of smoking are well documented, the highly addictive nature of nicotine can make it difficult for most smokers to quit. Nearly half of all smokers attempt to quit smoking each year, and many who do succeed reach their goal only after a number of failed attempts. In recent years, nicotine replacement vehicles such as gum, lozenges, nasal spray, and inhalers have shown notable promise in helping smokers kick the habit. In order to make them more palatable, most nicotine gums and lozenges include sweeteners such as sugar. NFPA 61-2008, NFPA 61: Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and Food Processing Facilities, 2008 Edition, provides safety guidelines for facilities that process, package, store or ship sugar and other agricultural bulk materials, with a focus on minimizing the risk of dust explosions and fires. The standard was developed by ANSI member and audited designator the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

NFPA also plays an important role in combatting other cigarette-related health risks and deaths through its coordination of the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes. The coalition is a domestic nonprofit organization focused on minimizing fires caused by cigarettes and their attendant risks. Its members include the following ANSI members:

The coalition has called on cigarette manufacturers to produce only cigarettes that comply with guidelines set down in ASTM E2187-09, Standard Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes. That standard, developed by ASTM International, provides a standard measure of a cigarette's ability to ignite bedding or upholstered furniture.

Many smokers who manage to successfully quit take advantage of telephone-based counseling programs that are available for free in all fifty states. These programs connect smokers seeking to quit with trained specialists who can provide useful guidance on how to avoid smoking-related temptations and common mistakes made by people attempting to quit. For most smokers, taking advantage of these programs is as easy as picking up a phone; however, smokers who are hard of hearing can benefit from guidance set down in a standard from International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) TC 29, Electroacoustics. IEC 60118-13 Ed. 3.0 b:2011, Electroacoustics - Hearing aids - Part 13: Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), provides requirements overseeing the use of hearing aids with mobile phones, providing important guidance to the growing population of individuals living with age- and noise-related hearing loss worldwide. ANSI member and accredited standards developer the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) serves as the USNC-approved TAG to TC 29.

For more information lung cancer awareness efforts, including community initiatives, and an ongoing push to increase funding for lung cancer research, visit the American Lung Association's Lung Cancer Awareness Page.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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