Passive smoking and diet in the etiology of lung cancer among non-smokers

Cancer Causes Control. 1990 Jul;1(1):15-21. doi: 10.1007/BF00053179.


A case-control study was undertaken in Athens to explore the role of passive smoking and diet in the causation of lung cancer, by histologic type, in non-smoking women. Among 160 women with lung cancer admitted to one of seven major hospitals in Greater Athens between 1987 and 1989, 154 were interviewed in person; of those interviewed, 91 were life-long non-smokers. Among 160 identified controls with fractures or other orthopedic conditions, 145 were interviewed in person; of those interviewed, 120 were life-long non-smokers. Marriage of a non-smoking woman to a smoker was associated with a relative risk for lung cancer of 2.1 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1-4.1); number of cigarettes smoked daily by the husband and years of exposure to husband's smoking were positively, but not significantly, related to lung cancer risk. There was no evidence of any association with exposure to smoking of other household members, and the association with exposure to passive smoking at work was small and not statistically significant. Dietary data collected through a semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire indicated that high consumption of fruits was inversely related to the risk of lung cancer (the relative risk between extreme quartiles was 0.27 (CI 0.10-0.74)). Neither vegetables nor any other food group had an additional protective effect; furthermore, the apparent protective effect of vegetables was not due to carotenoid vitamin A content and was only partly explained in terms of vitamin C. The associations of lung cancer risk with passive smoking and reduced fruit intake were independent and did not confound each other.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / etiology
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / etiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / etiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution