a small lab in a nondescript building outside UC Davis, research
assistants stuff cigarettes into a chambered wheel that emits puffs
as it turns. With one crank of the wheel, 10 little puffs of smoke
escape. It's odd to catch a whiff of burning tobacco in this institutional
setting where all smoking is banned, but certainly no odder than
watching a machine smoke the equivalent of two cartons of cigarettes
smoke-filled air is headed - in concentrations that would be familiar
to airline stewardesses and bartenders of yore - into the rooms
of a breed of mice known for their special ability to develop lung
tumors. The experiment is designed to simulate the effects of smoking
on mice, "which mice are too smart to do," says Hanspeter
Witschi, associate director of the Institute for Toxicology and
Environmental Health. "In early experiments scientists blew
smoke into their cages, but the animals would hold their breath."
machine - and the research it's used for - helps Witschi observe
the effects of secondhand smoke in laboratory animals and, by association,
in people. It's an area of study that has piqued the attention of
public health officials, occupational health and safety agencies
and legislators for more than three decades.
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In Translation |
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brans and asthma drugs offer important clues in the quest to prevent
lung cancer in smokers.