Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke share similar risks
EDMONTON, Oct. 1 /CNW/ - Breast Cancer Awareness Month kicked off today
with some alarming evidence indicating that smoking and exposure to secondhand
smoke can nearly double the risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer.
"There are an increasing number of studies that point to greater breast
cancer risks for both smokers and women who never smoked, but who had regular
long-term exposure to secondhand smoke," said Dr. Kenneth C. Johnson, a senior
epidemiologist and research scientist for the Public Health Agency of Canada.
"A 2005 report by the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA)
concluded that passive smoking causes pre-menopausal breast cancer."
Dr. Johnson was speaking today at the 5th National Conference on Tobacco
or Health and explained that, although the subject is controversial among
researchers, the World Health Organization has announced it will reprint and
distribute the 2005 CalEPA report in several languages. "Enough studies have
been published that they're setting off alarm bells and researchers and the
medical community are starting to listen," he explained. "The studies,
combined with the chemical concerns surrounding tobacco smoke are compelling."
Laboratory studies indicate that tobacco smoke contains 20 carcinogens
linked to breast cancer. "The evidence suggests that avoiding regular exposure
to tobacco smoke is an important way to reduce the toll of breast cancer,"
continued Dr. Johnson.
Secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, of which more than 50 are
known carcinogens. There is international scientific consensus that smoking
and exposure to secondhand smoke results in several fatal diseases including
heart disease (average increases in risk by 25-35 per cent) and lung cancer
(average increases in risk by 20-30 per cent).
In recent years, smoking rates have fallen steadily, from 25 per cent of
the population in 1999 to 19 per cent in 2005. By continuing to build
effective public policies and programs, tobacco use can be reduced to marginal
levels, which will lead to better health for all Canadians. For more
information on this and other tobacco-related issues, please visit
For further information:
For further information: Media Contact: Lenore Bromley, Communications,
National Conference on Tobacco or Health, (416) 471-8475