Background: Because limited information is available on the quantitative association between consumption of tobacco products other than cigarettes and lung cancer risk, we undertook a case-control study of this relationship.
Methods: We investigated lung cancer risk among smokers of cigars and/or cigarillos only and of pipes only and compared these risks with the risk of smokers of cigarettes only in a case-control study conducted in seven European areas. Our study population consisted of 5621 male case patients with lung cancer and 7255 male control subjects. Each subject or his proxy was interviewed with respect to the subject's smoking history and other risk factors for lung cancer.
Results: The odds ratio (OR) for smoking cigars and cigarillos only was 9.0 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 5.8-14.1), based on 43 exposed case patients and 77 exposed control subjects, and the OR for smoking a pipe only was 7.9 (95% CI = 5.3-11.8), representing 61 case patients and 129 control subjects. The OR for smoking cigarettes only was 14.9 (95% CI = 12.3-18.1), based on 4204 case patients and 3930 control subjects. A dose-response relationship was present for duration of use and cumulative consumption both for cigars and cigarillos and for pipe tobacco. An effect was also suggested for inhalation of cigar and cigarillo smoke. The dose-response relationships between lung cancer risk and either duration of smoking or average and cumulative consumption were similar for cigar and cigarillo smoking, pipe smoking, and cigarette smoking.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that smoking of European cigars, cigarillos, and pipe tobacco might exert a carcinogenic effect on the lung comparable to that of cigarettes.