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Beta carotene, smoking, and lung cancer

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I would like some clarification about the use of vitamin supplements containing beta carotene and smoking. I am an ex-smoker. I quit smoking regularly several years ago, but would still light up every now and then. I stopped altogether months ago and have no intention of starting again. I recently read that use of beta carotene by smokers and ex-smokers may lead to an increased risk of lung cancer. I have taken Centrum mulitvitamin for years and that contians 3500 IU of Vitamin A, of which, 29% is beta carotene. Do I need to worry about this? I have since stopped taking the supplement. Can I resume using it? Will I have to avoid beta carotene containing multivitamins from now on? Thanks for your help...


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replied August 8th, 2007
Lung Cancer Answer A1978
It is true that there are some scientific studies in the last several years whose results indicate beta-carotene (the precursor of Vitamin A) to be a risk factor for developing lung cancer. But you mustn’t forget that smoking is still the main risk factor for developing lung cancer. The genetic background of lung cancer is also very important, but many genetic aspects of the condition are still unknown. You should continue to avoid both smoking and vitamin supplements that contain beta-carotene.


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