Tobacco smoking and cancer: a brief review of recent epidemiological evidence

Lung Cancer. 2004 Aug:45 Suppl 2:S3-9. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2004.07.998.


This report summarises the epidemiological evidence on the association between tobacco smoking and cancer, which was reviewed by an international group of scientists convened by IARC. Studies published since the 1986 IARC Monograph on "Tobacco smoking" provide sufficient evidence to establish a causal association between cigarette smoking and cancer of the nasal cavities and paranasal sinuses, nasopharynx, stomach, liver, kidney (renal cell carcinoma) and uterine cervix, and for adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus and myeloid leukaemia. These sites add to the previously established list of cancers causally associated with cigarette smoking, namely cancer of the lung, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, pancreas, urinary bladder and renal pelvis. Other forms of tobacco smoking, such as cigars, pipes and bidis, also increase risk for cancer, including cancer of the lung and parts of the upper aerodigestive tract. A meta-analysis of over 50 studies on involuntary smoking among never smokers showed a consistent and statistically significant association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and lung cancer risk. Smoking is currently responsible for a third of all cancer deaths in many Western countries. It has been estimated that every other smoker will be killed by tobacco.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution