Cancer mortality in nonsmoking women with smoking husbands based on a large-scale cohort study in Japan

Prev Med. 1984 Nov;13(6):680-90. doi: 10.1016/s0091-7435(84)80017-1.


Mortality of 91,540 nonsmoking wives was studied in relation to the smoking habits of their husbands by means of a cohort study in Japan. During 16 years of follow-up, 200 deaths from lung cancer took place. The relative risks of lung cancer in these nonsmoking wives were 1.00, 1.36, 1.42, 1.58, and 1.91 when husbands were nonsmokers, ex-smokers, or daily smokers of 1-14, 15-19, or 20 or more cigarettes daily, respectively. Specificity of association and internal consistencies were observed. Among cancers of each site, a similar tendency toward risk elevation in nonsmoking wives with smoking husbands was observed for nasal sinus cancer, brain tumors, and cancer of all sites besides lung cancer. In interpreting these results, the significance of proximity in exposure to sidestream smoke in Japanese homes was stressed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / etiology
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Paranasal Sinus Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Paranasal Sinus Neoplasms / etiology
  • Risk
  • Stomach Neoplasms / etiology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / mortality
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution