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Cover of Tobacco Smoke and Involuntary Smoking

Tobacco Smoke and Involuntary Smoking

IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, No. 83


This monograph presents a series of review studies linking tobacco smoke and involuntary (passive) smoking to several cancers. Evidence of synergy between smoking and several occupational causes of lung cancer (arsenic, asbestos and radon), and between smoking and alcohol consumption for cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx and oesophagus and between smoking and human papillomavirus infection for cancer of the cervix have been found. In addition, the working group concluded that involuntary smoking (exposure to secondhand or "environmental " tobacco smoke) is carcinogenic to humans.


Corrigenda to the IARC Monographs are published online at:



In 1969, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) initiated a programme on the evaluation of the carcinogenic risk of chemicals to humans involving the production of critically evaluated monographs on individual chemicals. The programme was subsequently expanded to include evaluations of carcinogenic risks associated with exposures to complex mixtures, life-style factors and biological and physical agents, as well as those in specific occupations.

The objective of the programme is to elaborate and publish in the form of monographs critical reviews of data on carcinogenicity for agents to which humans are known to be exposed and on specific exposure situations; to evaluate these data in terms of human risk with the help of international working groups of experts in chemical carcinogenesis and related fields; and to indicate where additional research efforts are needed.

The lists of IARC evaluations are regularly updated and are available on Internet:

This project was supported by Cooperative Agreement 5 UO1 CA33193 awarded by the United States National Cancer Institute, Department of Health and Human Services. Additional support has been provided since 1993 by the United States National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

This project was funded in part by the European Commission, Directorate-General EMPL (Employment and Social Affairs), Health, Safety and Hygiene at Work Unit.

  • ©International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2004
  • Distributed by IARCPress (Fax: +33 4 72 73 83 02; E-mail: rf.crai@sserp) and by the World Health Organization Marketing and Dissemination, 1211 Geneva 27 (Fax: +41 22 791 4857; E-mail: tni.ohw@snoitacilbup)
  • Publications of the World Health Organization enjoy copyright protection in accordance with the provisions of Protocol 2 of the Universal Copyright Convention.
  • All rights reserved. Application for rights of reproduction or translation, in part or in toto, should be made to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

IARC Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

Tobacco smoke and involuntary smoking /

  • IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans (2004 : Lyon, France)
  • (IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans ; 83)
  • 1. Carcinogens – congresses 2. Tobacco smoke – congresses 3. Involuntary smoking – congresses I. IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans II. Series
  • ISBN 92 832 1283 5 (NLM Classification: W1)
  • ISSN 1017-1606
Image 01_01
CanadaWarning: You're not the only one smoking this cigarette.
ItalySmoking is seriously harmful to you and whoever is around you.
EgyptSmoking harms health and causes death.
BelgiumSmoking kills (Dutch, French and German).
JapanBecause smoking can be harmful to your health, be careful not to smoke too much, observe smoking etiquette.
TurkeyLegal warning: Harmful to health.
SpainSmoking can kill.
CanadaWarning: Each year, the equivalent of a small city dies from tobacco.
SwedenSmoking seriously harms you and the people around you.
FinlandSmokers die prematurely (Finnish and Swedish).
GermanySmoking can be deadly.
DenmarkSmoking can kill.
ThailandTobacco smoke kills (warning to become compulsory in March 2005).
ChinaSmoking harms health.
TunisiaImportant warning: Smoking is harmful to health.
BrazilSmoking during pregnancy harms the baby.
FranceSmoking kills.
FranceSmoking seriously harms your health and that of those around you.
AustraliaCigars are not a safe alternative to cigarettes (warning proposed by the Department of Health and Ageing, image provided by Dr Christopher Hughes, Sydney).

Cover design by Georges Mollon, IARC

… And for the vanities committed in this filthy custom, is it not both great vanity and uncleanness, that at the table, a place of respect, of cleanliness, of modesty, men should not be ashamed, to sit tossing of tobacco pipes, and puffing of the smoke of tobacco one to another, making the filthy smoke and stink thereof, to exhale across the dishes, and infect the air, when very often men that abhor it are at their repast? … It makes a kitchen also often-times in the inward parts of men, soiling and infecting them, with an … oily kind of soot, as has been found in some great tobacco takers, that after their death were opened …. Have you not reason then to be ashamed and to forbear this filthy novelty … a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the Pit that is bottomless?

From ‘A Counterblaste to Tobacco’ by King James I of England (1566–1625) Published by R. Barker, London, 1604

ŠInternational Agency for Research on Cancer, 2004.
Bookshelf ID: NBK316407


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