According to an article recently published in the American Journal of Public Health, exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke increases the risk of developing lung cancer.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Smoking tobacco products has long been associated with an increase in the risk of developing lung cancer. As well, studies have indicated that exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke may also increase the risk of developing lung cancer. However, an exact rate of increase in lung cancer risk related to second-hand tobacco smoke exposure has yet to be established.

Researchers from several medical institutions recently conducted an analysis from 22 studies to further determine the extent of lung cancer risk associated with second-hand tobacco smoke exposure in the workplace. This analysis included data from 2003 from 22 studies from several locations around the world.

  • Workers exposed to environmental tobacco smoke experienced a 24% increased risk of developing lung cancer compared with those not exposed to workplace second-hand smoke.
  • Workers who were highly exposed to environmental tobacco smoke in the workplace had a twofold increased risk of developing lung cancer compared with those not exposed to the second-hand smoke.
  • Increased duration of exposure to tobacco smoke in the workplace was associated with an increased risk of developing lung cancer.

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The researchers concluded, “The findings from this investigation provide thestrongest evidence to date that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in the workplace is associated with an increased riskof lung cancer.”

Reference: Stayner L, Bena J, Sasco A,e t al. Lung cancer risk and workplace exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. AmericanJournal of Public Health. 2007; 97: 545-551.

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