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Can Second Hand Smoke Cause Breast Cancer

Can The Smell Hurt You

Secondhand Smoke and Lung Cancer

We donât know yet. No research has linked smoke odors to cancers in people. But we do know that cancer-causing parts from tobacco smoke will cling to dust, carpets, sofas, and clothes.

Doctors call this thirdhand smoke. It probably affects you much less than a lit cigarette or pipe, But it can lurk in your house for months. Thatâs a special worry for babies and toddlers, who like to put things in their mouths.

Myth: Smoking Just A Few Cigarettes A Day Isnt Harmful

Yes, the more you smoke, the greater your lung cancer risk. But even just a few cigarettes a month may be harmful.

A study published in JAMA Network Open, an open-access medical journal of the American Medical Association, found that smoking six to 10 cigarettes a monthfewer than one a dayelevates your risk of getting cancer. It said occasional smokers have almost four times more of a chance of dying from a smoking-related cancer than nonsmokers.

In this nationally representative study, both daily and nondaily smokers had substantially higher mortality risks than never smoking, said the authors of the study, led by Maki Inoue-Choi, PhD, MS, of the National Cancer Institute.

How Can Exposures To Nonsmokers Be Reduced

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke even low levels of secondhand smoke can be harmful. In the United States, legislation has helped to reduce nonsmokers’ exposure to secondhand smoke. Federal law bans smoking on all domestic airline flights, nearly all flights between the United States and foreign destinations, interstate buses, and most trains. Smoking is also banned in most federally owned buildings. Many state and local governments have also passed laws prohibiting smoking in public facilities, such as schools, hospitals, and airports, as well as private workplaces, including restaurants and bars.

Internationally, a growing number of nations require all workplaces, including bars and restaurants, to be smoke free.

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Breast Cancer At Age 61

The women were followed up for an average of 20 years, and up to 27 years for some of them.

The researchers waited until now to identify enough new cases of breast cancer to make the findings as accurate as possible.

The vast majority of women who had breast cancer were between 45 and 79 years old when they were diagnosed.

Those who had been exposed to passive smoking from their parents were on average a little over 61 years old when they were diagnosed.

Harmful Impacts Of Secondhand Smoke Never To Ignore

Second hand smoke leading to cancer

Did you know that secondhand smoke is more harmful than smoking? Cigarettes have filters, so smokers are protected from certain toxins in the tobacco. However, secondhand smoke comes out of the other end of the cigarette the end that doesnt have a filter.

So while you might accept the risks of smoking for yourself, you could be harming someone you love without realizing it.

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Female Smoking And Empowerment

On Tuesday, a report published in the World Health Organization’s Bulletin said millions of women in developing countries risk an early death by 2030 as rising economic and political status leads more people to smoke.

In countries like Canada and Norway with relatively high female employment, women smoke almost as much as men do.

The analysis of data from 74 countries concluded men are nearly five times more likely to smoke in countries with lower rates of female empowerment in terms of representation in parliament, voting rights and income.

Those countries included China, Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudia Arabia and Uganda.

Geoffrey Fong of the University of Waterloo and his co-authors said the findings point to the need for tobacco control measures like advertising bans, more prominent graphic warnings and higher cigarette taxes to prevent the tobacco industry from targeting women.

The link between increased risk of breast cancer and second-hand smoke was only found for extensive exposure more than 10 years recalled during childhood, more than 20 years at home as an adult and more than a decade at work.

Since there was no clear trend for lower doses of second-hand smoke, the researchers cautioned the data is suggestive of a link that needs to be confirmed by other studies.

“Our findings highlight the need for interventions to prevent initiation of smoking, especially at an early age, and to encourage smoking cessation at all ages,” the study authors concluded.

Breast Cancer And Lung Cancer

  • Even though lung cancer is the most commonly associated cancer related to secondhand smoke exposure, some studies suggest that among young, premenopausal women, there is more scientific evidence linking secondhand smoke to breast cancer than there was linking SHS exposure to lung cancer in 1986 when the Surgeon General first concluded that SHS causes lung cancer.9
  • California Environmental Protection Agency. 2005. Proposed identification of environmental tobacco smoke as a toxic air contaminant part B: Health effects. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, California Environmental Protection Agency. Sacramento, CA.
  • U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. 2009. United States Cancer Statistics: 19992005 Incidence and Mortality Webbased Report. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute. Atlanta, GA. Available at:
  • Phillips DH, Martin FL, Grover PL, Williams JA. 2001. Toxicological basis for a possible association of breast cancer with smoking and other sources of environmental carcinogens. Journal of Women’s Cancer 3: 916.
  • Miller, M.D. Marty, M.A. Broadwin, R. Johnson, K.C. Salmon, A.G. Winder B. and Steinmaus, C. 2007. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and breast cancer: a review by the California Environmental Protection Agency, Preventive Medicine, 44, 93106.
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    The Importance Of Carcinogens In Tobacco Smoke

    The suspicion that exposure to SHS could cause breast cancer dates back more than two decades. Among the more than 50 carcinogens in tobacco smoke are approximately 20 substances listed as mammary carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. These include compounds such as dibenzopyrene, which the research literature identifies as an extremely potent carcinogen in mammary tissue.

    The chemicals in tobacco smoke are a mixed bag of directly genotoxic DNA-damaging compounds , compounds that enhance the action of these initiators , and compounds that do both, says Andrew Salmon, a toxicologist at the California EPAs Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment . Some of these substances are more abundant in sidestream smoke, which comes off the tip of the cigarette, than the smoke inhaled by smokers themselves. This sidestream smoke is the major source of SHS.

    The data from epidemiological studies are even murkier. Taken as a whole, the 26 studies on the topic to date appear inconclusive, points out Alfredo Morabia, a professor of epidemiology at the City University of New York and lead author of a study in the 1 May 1996 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology that did show a link. There are large prospective studies that found no association, but some casecontrol studies find a strong association and others a weak association, he says. Some studies indicate that the issue is with younger women, others with older women.

    Secondhand Smoke Tied To Variety Of Problems

    Second hand smoke

    Secondhand smoke is also known as environmental tobacco smoke or passive smoking, and consists of a complex combination of gases and particles released by the burning of tobacco and from smoke exhaled by the smoker.

    Researchers say scientific evidence also supports a causal relationship between exposure to secondhand smoke and a variety of other health problems, ranging from low birth weight and ear infections in children to heart disease and lung cancer in adults.

    The report has been submitted for review by a scientific panel. If approved, the report would be turned over to the Air Resources Board, which is in charge of setting regulations for air pollution in California.

    Because breast cancer is a relatively common disease, researchers say the up to 90% increase in breast cancer risk shown by this study represents a major public health threat in addition to the already known heart disease and lung cancer risks associated with secondhand smoke.

    Show Sources

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    How To Protect Yourself

    The best way is to avoid smokers. Donât let anyone smoke in your house or car. If a houseguest wants to smoke, ask them to take it outside. Pick smoke-free restaurants, and ask for nonsmoking rooms at hotels and motels.

    You canât get rid of smoke residue in your home or car by opening windows or using fans. Clean or wash curtains, furniture fabric, rugs, walls, and counters often.

    Show Sources

    American Lung Association: â9 of the Worst Diseases You Can Get from Secondhand Smoke,â âLung Cancer Fact Sheet.â

    American Cancer Society: âHealth Risks of Secondhand Smoke.â

    National Cancer Institute: âLung Cancer Prevention — Patient Version,â âSecondhand Smoke and Cancer.â

    U.S. Surgeon General and CDC: âSecondhand Smoke: what it means to you.â

    CDC: âHealth Effects of Secondhand Smoke,â âSecondhand Smoke Facts.â

    Mayo Clinic: âHow risky is secondhand smoke?â âLung Cancer: Causes,â âWhat is thirdhand smoke, and why is it a concern?â

    The Lancet Oncology: âSecond-hand smoke and human lung cancer.â

    Department of Health and Human Services: âThe Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General.â

    Environmental Protection Agency: âSecondhand Tobacco Smoke and Smoke-Free Homes.â

    International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: âSex and Age Differences in Exposure to Secondhand Smoke at Home among Korean Adolescents: A Nationally Representative Survey.â

    Cancers Caused By Secondhand Smoke And Their Symptoms

    Secondhand smoking is when you inhale the smoke produced by a smoker or by the lighted end of a tobacco product like cigar, pipe, and hookah . Every year, secondhand smoking causes 34,000 deaths from heart disease and 7,300 deaths from lung cancer in the US. About 7,000 chemicals have been identified in this smoke and at least 250 of them are known to be harmful.

    Secondhand smoke has a range of carcinogens and hence, increases the chances of non-smokers developing cancer by 2030 percent. Out of the 250 harmful chemicals identified, 50 of them are carcinogens. Exposure to these at home, office, or any other public place manifolds the risk of different getting cancers, amongst which lung cancer is the most prevalent one.

    Mentioned below is the list of cancers which has been linked to the secondhand smoke and their respective symptoms.

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    Myth: Secondhand Smoke Isnt That Bad

    Secondhand smoke is a risk factor for lung cancer because the smoke exposes the nonsmoker to the same cancer-causing chemicals as the smoker. Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work have a 20 percent to 30 percent increased risk of lung cancer compared to those who have not been exposed to secondhand smoke.

    The more youre exposed to secondhand smoke, the greater your lung cancer risk becomes. Even brief secondhand smoke exposure may damage cells in ways that set the cancer process in motion, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website.

    A 2018 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Healthconfirmed that exposure to secondhand smoking significantly increases the risk of overall cancer for never smokers. In particular, secondhand smoking significantly increases the risk of breast and lung cancer and cancers in women. The researchers estimated that secondhand smoking increased the risk of breast cancer by 24 percent and lung cancer by 25 percent in the patients studied.

    Cancer By Passive Smoking In Children

    Second hand smoke leading to cancer

    If not today, but it will surely capture your childs health soon. Children are at a higher risk of getting infected with cancer and other harmful condition because they are still growing. Infants can be a victim of SIDs . Children who are frequently exposed to second-hand smoke will wheeze and cough more. They will have fluidic ears, children with asthmas can get themselves in serious trouble. People smoking in front of children should realize that passive smoking causes cancer and should at least avoid smoking during that time.

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    Passive Smoking And Breast Cancer Risk Among Non

    • Affiliations Department of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China, Epidemiology Research Unit, the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

    • Affiliation Department of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

    • Affiliation Department of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

    • Affiliation Department of Vascular Surgery, the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

    • Affiliation Nursing Department, the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

    • * E-mail:

      Affiliation Division of Epidemiology, The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China

    • * E-mail:

      Affiliation Department of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

    How Can Second Hand Smoking Cause Cancer

    But How Can Second Smoking causes Cancer? As mentioned earlier, if you are constantly inhaling the smoke very often then you are inhaling chemicals like arsenic, benzene, ethylene oxide, toluene and many more which are the agents that can cause cancer. You wont believe, there are more than 7000 chemicals present in second-hand smoke and 250 are considered harmful according toNational Cancer Institute. So, you can say second-hand smoking causes cancer with the aid of 250 harmful chemicals!

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    What Are The Other Health Effects Of Exposure To Secondhand Smoke

    Secondhand smoke is associated with disease and premature death in nonsmoking adults and children . Exposure to secondhand smoke irritates the airways and has immediate harmful effects on a persons heart and blood vessels. It increases the risk of heart disease by about 25 to 30% . In the United States, secondhand smoke is estimated to cause nearly 34,000 heart disease deaths each year . Exposure to secondhand smoke also increases the risk of stroke by 20 to 30% .

    Secondhand smoke exposure during pregnancy has been found to cause reduced fertility, pregnancy complications, and poor birth outcomes, including impaired lung development, low birth weight, and preterm delivery .

    Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, ear infections, colds, pneumonia, bronchitis, and more severe asthma. Being exposed to secondhand smoke slows the growth of childrens lungs and can cause them to cough, wheeze, and feel breathless .

    There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Even low levels of secondhand smoke can be harmful.

    Smoking And Secondhand Smoke Raise Risk

    Second-hand smoke can be dangerous, too
    • premenopausal women who smoke — women who start smoking at an early age are 20% more likely to develop breast cancer than women who never smoke
    • postmenopausal women who smoke
    • premenopausal women exposed to secondhand smoke

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    What About Smoking Marijuana Or Using Smokeless Tobacco

    There is no comprehensive research on specific links between alternative uses of tobacco or smoking marijuana on risk of developing breast cancer although these behaviors expose people to many of the same toxic chemicals found in first-, second- and third hand smoke derived from use of tobacco cigarettes.

    • Although marijuana use may be an important therapeutic intervention to address the symptoms of treatment for breast cancer,,smoking marijuana exposes people to many of the same contaminants found in cigarette smoke, especially PAHs. Unlike cigarettes, most marijuana formulations do not contain nicotine.
    • Use of snuff or chewing tobacco leads to a significant increase in NNK in the dust from homes of smokeless tobacco users, thereby exposing users and others in the vicinity to the toxic effects of this carcinogenic chemical that has been linked to increased breast cancer.
    • E-cig use, or vaping, results in the exposures to high levels of nicotine which, in turn, is metabolized to NNK. Although no studies have examined association of e-cig second hand vapors and breast cancer risk, one study has shown similar effects on brain activity of second hand tobacco smoke and second hand e-cig vapors. Another concern with vaping is the use of undisclosed flavorings, which may have their own health effects, and also make the products attractive to teens and young adults.

    Is Exposure To Secondhand E

    As e-cigarettes and similar devices have become more popular in recent years, a growing concern is whether the aerosol of tiny particles exhaled by users, sometimes referred to as secondhand vapor, is harmful to other people who breathe it in.

    Scientists are still learning about the health effects of being exposed to secondhand e-cigarette aerosol. However, the US Surgeon General has concluded that e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless. Secondhand aerosol can expose others to nicotine, and possibly to other harmful chemicals.

    Smoke-free and tobacco-free policies already in place should also cover e-cigarettes. This will help non-users avoid being exposed to potentially harmful e-cigarette aerosol.

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    What Is Thirdhand Smoke

    Thirdhand smoke exposure is a new concept it refers to the deposition and accumulation of toxic agents in smoke in clothing, drapes, rugs, furniture, dust, and other items due to secondhand smoke. These toxins can be absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes of non-smokers, especially by infants and young children.

    Who Is Most Vulnerable To The Health Effects

    Second hand smoke leading to cancer

    Overall, research suggests earlier exposures to tobacco smoke are of greater concern.

    • Some studies indicate smoking before a first full-term pregnancy may increase the risk of a later diagnosis of breast cancer.,
    • Smoking during adolescence has been found to be associated with increased breast cancer risk.,,,,
    • Studies also suggest increased risk of breast cancer for pre-menopausal women.
    • Individuals who have smoked for a long time or have smoked heavily seemed to have higher risks for breast cancer.

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