Breast Cancer Linked to Smoking and Second-Hand Smoke

Graphic Warnings Needed to Deter Women From Tobacco Use and Exposure

MONTREAL, Nov. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Until recently, the evidence surrounding the link between breast cancer and tobacco smoke was inconclusive. Now, according to an international panel of experts convened by the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit (OTRU) sufficient scientific evidence exists linking second-hand smoke exposure to pre-menopausal breast cancer and active smoking to breast cancer in women of all ages.

In support of these findings, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada are calling on health advocates and delegates at the 6th National Conference on Tobacco or Health to support the inclusion of this risk factor in the new set of health warning labels currently being developed by Health Canada.

"Detailed analysis of new and existing research has led us to conclude there is persuasive evidence linking smoking and second-hand smoke exposure to breast cancer in pre-menopausal women," said Neil Collishaw, Chair of the International Panel and research director of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. "Evidence also links breast cancer to active smoking in post-menopausal women."

According to the Breast Cancer Society of Canada, one in nine women is expected to develop breast cancer during their lifetime. Of the nine, one in 28 will not survive. In 2009 alone, 22,700 women in Canada are estimated to be diagnosed with this disease, of which 5,400 will die prematurely.

"It is imperative that young women know that any exposure to tobacco smoke, whether through active smoking or passive inhalation, increases their risk of developing breast cancer," said Cynthia Callard, executive director of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. "Given that breast cancer affects the lives of so many women, Health Canada needs to include this risk factor in their new set of health warning labels so that smokers are deterred from smoking and exposing women unnecessarily to this deadly disease."

Tobacco use is the single largest cause of preventable death and disease and one of the biggest strains on Canada's healthcare system.

SOURCE National Conference on Tobacco or Health (NCTH)

For further information: For further information: To arrange interviews with Neil Collishaw or Cynthia Callard, please contact: Conference media room, (514) 879-6822; English media, Matt Drennan-Scace, (416) 471-8475,; French media, Éric Normandeau, (514) 254-0195,

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