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Eur J Cancer. 2008 Jan;44(1):100-9. Epub 2007 Nov 19.

Morbidity and mortality in relation to smoking among women and men of Chinese ethnicity: the Singapore Chinese Health Study.

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Department of Community, Occupational, and Family Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore.



We examined the association among cigarette smoking, smoking cessation and a broad range of cancer incidence and all cause and cause-specific mortality in a population-based cohort of adults of Chinese ethnicity in Singapore.


Subjects were 61,320 participants of the Singapore Chinese Health Study (44.5% men, aged 45-74 years, recruitment from 1993-1998) who were free of cancer at the baseline examination. Main outcomes-of-interest included cancer incidence, all cause and cause-specific mortality as of December 31, 2005.


Cigarette smoking was positively associated with overall cancer incidence, including cancers at the following specific sites: head and neck region, upper gastrointestinal tract, hepatobiliary and pancreas cancer, lung, and bladder/renal pelvis cancer. Compared to never smokers, the relative risk (RR) (95% confidence interval [CI]) of cancer incidence (all cancer sites) among current smokers smoking >22 cigarettes/day was 1.9 (1.7-2.1), p-trend<0.0001. Similarly, cigarette smoking was associated with all cause and cause-specific mortality, including deaths due to cancer, ischemic heart disease, other heart diseases, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Compared to never smokers, RR (95%CI) of all cause mortality among current smokers smoking >22 cigarettes/day was 1.8 (1.6-2.0), p-trend<0.0001. Also, relative to current smokers, ex-smokers experienced reduced cancer incidence and total mortality. The population attributable risk of smoking in men for cancer incidence as well as all-cause mortality was 23%, whereas in women it ranged from 4-5%.


Cigarette smoking is an important risk factor for cancer incidence and major causes of mortality in Chinese men and women of Singapore.

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