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December 13, 2000

Fungal Contamination of Tobacco and Marijuana

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Executive Deputy EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;284(22):2875. doi:10.1001/jama.284.22.2869

To the Editor: Invasive aspergillosis remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients, including transplant recipients and those treated for hematological malignancy. Exposure to airborne Aspergillus spores is considered a major risk factor for acquiring infection. The guideline of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that potential sources of fungal spores should be eliminated to reduce the exposure of patients at high risk.1 However, the risk of invasive aspergillosis associated with tobacco or marijuana smoking is unclear. We investigated whether Aspergillus spores are present in tobacco of commercially available cigarettes and marijuana (marijuana is sold semilegally in the Netherlands), and whether burning contaminated tobacco causes release of spores.