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Home > Understanding Breast Cancer > Breast Cancer Research > Table 23: Secondhand smoke and breast cancer risk

  


Table 23: Secondhand smoke and breast cancer risk

  

This summary table contains detailed information about research studies. Summary tables offer an informative look at the science behind many breast cancer guidelines and recommendations. However, they should be viewed with some caution. In order to read and interpret research tables successfully, it is important to understand some key concepts. Learn how to read a research table.

Introduction: Large prospective cohort studies have found no link between breathing secondhand smoke (breathing the smoke from other people's cigarettes, also called passive smoking) and breast cancer. However, findings from some case-control studies have shown a slightly increased risk of breast cancer, especially among premenopausal women.

Because there is no established link between smoking and breast cancer risk, it is unlikely secondhand smoke exposure is related to an increase in risk [1]. However, more research is needed to draw solid conclusions.

Learn more about secondhand smoke and breast cancer risk.  

Find a summary of research studies on smoking and risk of breast cancer.

Learn about the strengths and weaknesses of different types of studies

See how this risk factor compares with other risk factors for breast cancer.

Study selection criteria: Prospective cohort studies and case-control studies with at least 300 breast cancer cases and meta-analyses.

Table note: Relative risk above 1 indicates increased risk. Relative risk below 1 indicates decreased risk. 

Study 

Study Population
(number of participants)
 

Follow-up
(years)
 

Secondhand Smoke Exposure 

 Relative Risk of Breast Cancer in Women Exposed to Secondhand Smoke Compared to Women Not Exposed to Secondhand Smoke,
RR (95% CI)
 

Prospective cohort studies 

Nurses' Health Study [2]

36,017
(2,890 cases)

24

Exposure in home or at work

0.97 (0.81-1.16)

Million Women Study [3]

224,917
(2,518 cases)

3.5

Exposure in home

1.02 (0.86-1.16)

California Teachers Study [4]

116,544
(2,005 cases)

5

Exposure in home

0.94 (0.82-1.07)*

Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study [5]

41,022
(1,660 cases)

10.3

Exposure in home or at work

1.11 (0.92-1.34)

Miyagi cohort [6]

9,675
(426 cases)

9

Exposure in home

0.58 (0.34-0.99)

Case-control studies 

 

Cases 

Controls 

     

Young et al. [7]

6,235

6,533

 

Exposure in home or at work

0.97 (0.88-1.08)

Ontario Women’s Diet and Health Study [8]

3,101

3,471

 

Exposure in home, at work or in social settings 

Premenopausal women:
1.61 (0.74-3.52)

Postmenopausal women:
1.03 (0.69-1.55) 

Lissowska et al. [9]

2,386

2,502

 

Exposure in home or at work

1.11 (0.85-1.46)

Johnson et al. [10]

2,317

2,438

 

Exposure in home or at work

Premenopausal women:
2.6 (1.1-6.0)

Postmenopausal women:
1.1 (0.6-1.8)

Slattery et al. [11]

1,527

1,601

 

Exposure in home, at work or outside of home

Premenopausal women:
1.2 (0.6-2.7) 

Postmenopausal women:
1.0 (0.6-1.7) 

Shrubsole et al. [12]

1,013

1,117

 

Exposure in home or at work

1.1 (0.8-1.4)*

Roddam et al. [13]

639

640

 

Exposure in home

Premenopausal women:
0.89 (0.64-1.25) 

Kropp et al. [14]

468

1,093

 

Exposure in home or at work

 Premenopausal women:
1.61 (1.08-2.39)

Bonner et al. [15]

376

684

 

Exposure in home

Postmenopausal women:
1.25 (0.79-1.96)

 

 

 

 

Exposure at work

Postmenopausal women:
1.09 (0.76-1.57)

Lash et al. [16]

305

249

 

Exposure in home

0.85 (0.63-1.10)

Meta-analyses 

Pirie et al. [2]

8 prospective studies

 

Exposure in home or at work

0.99 (0.93-1.05)

 

17 retrospective studies

 

 Exposure in home or at work

1.21 (1.11-1.32)

Johnson [17]

19 studies

 

Exposure in home or at work

1.27 (1.11-1.45) 

Miller et al. [18]

19 studies

 

Exposure in home or at work

1.25 (1.08-1.44) 

* Results were similar when pre- and postmenopausal women were examined separately.

† Results for non-Hispanic white women in this study. Among 798 cases and 924 control women who were Hispanic or American Indian, there was an increase in risk of breast cancer among pre- and peri-menopausal women with RR=2.3 (1.2-4.5), but not among postmenopausal women with RR=1.0 (0.6-1.8).

‡ Increased risk of breast cancer found only among case-control studies. All cohort study results showed no link between secondhand smoke exposure and breast cancer risk. 


References  

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The health consequences of involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke: A report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2006.
  2. Xue F, Willett WC, Rosner BA, Hankinson SE, Michels KB. Cigarette smoking and the incidence of breast cancer. Arch Intern Med. 171(2):125-133, 2011.
  3. Pirie K, Beral V, Peto R, Roddam A, Reeves G, Green J for the Million Women Study Collaborators. Passive smoking and breast cancer in never smokers: prospective study and meta-analysis. Int J Epidemiol. 37(5):1069-79, 2008.
  4. Reynolds P, Hurley S, Goldberg DE, et al. Active smoking, household passive smoking, and breast cancer: evidence from the California Teachers Study. J Natl Cancer Inst. 96(1):29-37, 2004.
  5. Luo J, Margolis KL, Wactawski-Wende J, et al. Association of active and passive smoking with risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women: a prospective cohort study. BMJ. 342:d1016, 2011.
  6. Nishino Y, Tsubono Y, Tsuji I, et al. Passive smoking at home and cancer risk: a population-based prospective study in Japanese nonsmoking women. Cancer Causes Control. 12(9):797-802, 2001.
  7. Young E, Leatherdale ST, Sloan M, Kreiger N, Barisic A. Age of smoking initiation and risk of breast cancer in a sample of Ontario women. Tob Induc Dis. 5(1):4, 2009.
  8. Anderson LN, Cotterchio M, Mirea L, Ozcelik H, Kreiger N. Passive cigarette smoke exposure during various periods of life, genetic variants, and breast cancer risk among never smokers. Am J Epidemiol. 175(4):289-301, 2012.
  9. Lissowski J, Brinton LA, Zatonski W, et al. Tobacco smoking, NAT2 acetylation genotype and breast cancer risk. Int J Cancer. 119(8):1961-9, 2006.
  10. Johnson KC, Hu J, Mao Y and The Canadian Cancer Registries Epidemiology Research Group. Passive and active smoking and breast cancer risk in Canada, 1994-97. Cancer Causes Control. 11(3):211-21, 2000.
  11. Slattery ML, Curtin K, Giuliano AR, et al. Active and passive smoking, IL6, ESR1, and breast cancer risk. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 109(1):101-11, 2008.
  12. Shrubsole MJ, Gao YT, Dai Q, et al. Passive smoking and breast cancer risk among non-smoking Chinese women. Int J Cancer. 110(4):605-9, 2004.
  13. Roddam AW, Pirie K, Pike MC, et al. Active and passive smoking and the risk of breast cancer in women aged 36-45 years: a population based case-control study in the UK. Br J Cancer. 97(3):434-9, 2007.
  14. Kropp S, Chang-Claude J. Active and passive smoking and risk of breast cancer by age 50 years among German women. Am J Epidemiol. 156(7):616-26, 2002.
  15. Bonner MR, Nie J, Han D, et al. Secondhand smoke exposure in early life and the risk of breast cancer among never smokers (United States). Cancer Causes Control. 16(6):683-9, 2005.
  16. Lash TL, Aschengrau A. A null association between active or passive cigarette smoking and breast cancer risk. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 75(2):181-4, 2002.
  17. Johnson KC. Accumulating evidence on passive and active smoking and breast cancer risk. Int J Cancer. 117(4):619-28, 2005.
  18. Miller MD, Marty MA, Broadwin R, et al. for the California Environmental Protection Agency. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and breast cancer: a review by the California Environmental Protection Agency. Prev Med. 44(2):93-106, 2007. 

Updated 08/30/13