Passive smoking at home and cancer risk: a population-based prospective study in Japanese nonsmoking women

Cancer Causes Control. 2001 Nov;12(9):797-802. doi: 10.1023/a:1012273806199.


Objectives: To investigate the relationship between passive smoking at home and the incidence of various cancers in a population-based prospective study.

Methods: The subjects were 9675 Japanese lifelong nonsmoking women aged over 40 years who lived in three municipalities of Miyagi Prefecture, and completed a self-administration questionnaire in 1984. During 9 years of follow-up, 426 cancers were identified by record linkage to the population-based cancer registry. The data were analyzed using the Cox proportional hazards model.

Results: The age-adjusted relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of smoking-related cancers and lung cancer for women who had smoking husbands, compared with women whose husbands did not smoke, were 1.7 (0.94 2.9, p = 0.079) and 1.9 (0.81-4.4, p = 0.14), respectively. In contrast, a significant inverse association was observed for breast cancer, the RR (95% CI) was 0.58 (0.34-0.99, p = 0.047). After multivariate adjustment for confounding factors, the risks of smoking-related cancers and breast cancer were materially unchanged.

Conclusions: These results show that passive smoking may affect the risk of cancers other than lung cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Rectal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Risk
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution