Occupation and smoking as risk factors for lung cancer: a population-based case-control study

Am J Ind Med. 2003 Feb;43(2):149-55. doi: 10.1002/ajim.10171.


Background: Lung cancer is associated with occupation, but not much is known about the influence exerted on risk by length of exposure and the joint effect of occupational exposure and tobacco on risk of lung cancer.

Methods: Through a population-based case-control study, we defined risk professions as those that have been associated previously with higher risk of lung cancer.

Results: The relative risk seems to increase linearly and significantly with the number of years spent in risk occupations, rising significantly by 28% for every 10 years in a risk profession. Should such occupations be combined with exposure to a smoking habit, then in the case of heavy smokers, a working career spanning 20 years or more in risk occupations would mean tripling the possibility of developing lung cancer from occupation.

Conclusions: The high risks observed indicate a public health problem and indicate that joint exposure to risk professions and tobacco ought to be avoided. We must stress from these results the need for effective education for all workers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupations*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Time Factors