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Getting a smoker's lung is better than none

May 29th, 2012 - Health News

LONDON (AP) — A new study says it's a case of better than nothing.

The study in the British journal, Lancet, concludes that patients who need new lungs are better off getting donated organs from smokers than none at all.

The study says patients who get donated lungs from smokers probably don't live as long as they might with a nonsmoker's lungs, but they do live longer than if they had no transplant at all.

In Britain, about 40 percent of donated lungs come from people who have previously smoked.

Doctors behind the new study say changing the U.K. system would be wrong and more people would die while waiting for donated lungs.

In the U.S., doctors also use lungs from smokers, although there's no data on how often that happens. The U.S. and the U.K. have similar overall smoking rates of about 20 percent.

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