Journal Article

Active and Passive Smoking and Risk of Breast Cancer by Age 50 Years among German Women

Silke Kropp and Jenny Chang-Claude

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 156, issue 7, pages 616-626
Published in print October 2002 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online October 2002 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Active and Passive Smoking and Risk of Breast Cancer by Age 50 Years among German Women

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Recent studies suggest that both active and passive smokers have an increased risk of breast cancer compared with women who have never been either actively or passively exposed. Data on lifetime active and passive smoking were collected in 1999–2000 from 468 predominantly premenopausal breast cancer patients diagnosed by age 50 years and 1,093 controls who had previously participated in a German case-control study conducted in 1992–1995. Compared with never active/passive smokers, former smokers and current smokers had odds ratios of 1.2 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.8, 1.7) and 1.5 (95% CI: 1.0, 2.2), respectively, and ever active smokers had an odds ratio of 1.3 (95% CI: 0.9, 1.9). The risk increased with duration of smoking and decreased after cessation of smoking. Among never active smokers, ever passive smoking was associated with an odds ratio of 1.6 (95% CI: 1.1, 2.4). Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke during childhood or before the first pregnancy did not appear to increase breast cancer risk. At greatest risk were women who had a high level of exposure to both passive and active smoking (odds ratio = 1.8, 95% CI: 1.2, 2.7). This study strengthens the hypothesis of a causal relation between active and passive smoke exposures and breast cancer risk.

Keywords: breast neoplasms; case-control studies; premenopause; smoking; tobacco smoke pollution; women; Abbreviations: CI, confidence interval; OR, odds ratio.

Journal Article.  6534 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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