Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Public Health. 1992 Nov;82(11):1525-30.

Passive smoking and lung cancer in nonsmoking women.

Author information

Division of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Missouri Department of Health, Columbia 65203.



The causes of lung cancer among nonsmokers are not clearly understood. To further evaluate the relation between passive smoke exposure and lung cancer in nonsmoking women, we conducted a population-based, case-control study.


Case patients (n = 618), identified through the Missouri Cancer Registry for the period 1986 through 1991, included 432 lifetime nonsmokers and 186 ex-smokers who had stopped at least 15 years before diagnosis or who had smoked for less than 1 pack-year. Control subjects (n = 1402) were selected from driver's license and Medicare files.


No increased risk of lung cancer was associated with childhood passive smoke exposure. Adulthood analyses showed an increased lung cancer risk for lifetime nonsmokers with exposure of more than 40 pack-years from all household members (odds ratio [OR] = 1.3; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.0, 1.8) or from spouses only (OR = 1.3; 95% CI = 1.0, 1.7). When the time-weighted product of pack-years and average hours exposed per day was considered, a 30% excess risk was shown at the highest quartile of exposure among lifetime nonsmokers.


Ours and other recent studies suggest a small but consistent increased risk of lung cancer from passive smoking. Comprehensive actions to limit smoking in public places and worksites are well-advised.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center