Relationship of passive smoking to risk of lung cancer and other smoking-associated diseases

Br J Cancer. 1986 Jul;54(1):97-105. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1986.157.


In the latter part of a large hospital case-control study of the relationship of type of cigarette smoked to risk of various smoking-associated diseases, patients answered questions on the smoking habits of their first spouse and on the extent of passive smoke exposure at home, at work, during travel and during leisure. In an extension of this study an attempt was made to obtain smoking habit data directly from the spouses of all lifelong non-smoking lung cancer cases and of two lifelong non-smoking matched controls for each case. The attempt was made regardless of whether the patients had answered passive smoking questions in hospital or not. Amongst lifelong non-smokers, passive smoking was not associated with any significant increase in risk of lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, ischaemic heart disease or stroke in any analysis. Limitations of past studies on passive smoking are discussed and the need for further research underlined. From all the available evidence, it appears that any effect of passive smoke on risk of any of the major diseases that have been associated with active smoking is at most small, and may not exist at all.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bronchitis / etiology
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / etiology
  • Coronary Disease / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution