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Forced or involuntary smoking, also known as secondhand smoke, causes an average 68% increase in breast cancer risk for women younger than 50. Some women who have not reached menopause have as much as a 120% higher risk, according to a 26 January 2006 California Air Resources Board decision approving a California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) report to that effect.

"This is the most careful analysis of the data up to the most current time frame that exists anywhere," says Cheryl Healton, president of the American Legacy Foundation, a health group in Washington DC. "It has gone substantially further than anything else and is carefully vetted through a group of very well-respected scientists."

A Surgeon General's report on secondhand smoke, which looks at the breast cancer link, is due later in 2006.

CalEPA's report strengthens existing evidence, accepted in the scientific community, that forced smoking kills nonsmokers, causes lung cancer, heart disease, adult asthma, premature birth, and sudden infant death syndrome. CalEPA scientists based their conclusion on recent human studies that they determined had more careful assessments of long-term exposure to tobacco smoke. The report also gave more weight to toxicology evidence from animal studies than previous studies by the Surgeon General and others. It is well-documented that chemicals from cigarettes cause breast cancer in lab animals.

          This data was not new. It has long been known. "A . . . study by the American Cancer Society reports that a woman's risk of dying from breast cancer increases by 25% if the woman is a smoker—and rises in proportion to the number of cigarettes smoked per day and the total number of years smoked, culminating with a 75% increased risk in women who smoke two packs per day or more."

          "The study, published in the May 15 [1994] issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, found no association between former smoking and risk of fatal breast cancer."

          "Our results suggest that there is something different about current smokers with breast cancer with regard to their risk of dying from the disease," says Eugenia Calle, Ph.D., Director of Analytic Epidemiology with the American Cancer Society, who is the lead author of the paper." Calle EE, Miracle-McMahill HL, Thun MJ, and Heath CW Jr, "Cigarette Smoking and Risk of Fatal Breast Cancer," 139 Am J Epidemiology (#10) 1001-1007 (15 May 1994).

          "Epidemiologic results indicate that women who smoke cigarettes are relatively estrogen-deficient. Smokers have an early . . . menopause . . . an increased risk of some osteoporotic fractures. . . . The harmful effects of cigarette smoking are not limited to tissues having direct smoke contact. For example, smokers have increased risks of cancer of the esophagus, kidneys, and bladder, presumably from swallowed or absorbed cigarette products." See Baron, John A, M.D., La Vecchia, Carlo L, M.D., and Levi, Fabio, M.D., "The Antiestrogenic Effect of Cigarette Smoking in Women," 162 Am J Obstetrics and Gynecology (2) 502-514 (February 1990).

"Researchers at California's Air Resources Board said that secondhand smoke can raise the risk of getting breast cancer by up to 90 percent," says Secondhand Smoking Raises Breast Cancer Risk (JTO, 14 March 2005). "The California researchers estimated that secondhand smoke kills 73,400 Americans each year. Breast cancer kills about 40,000 women annually."

          Nonsmoker women should be aware of the danger from poison-spewing smokers around them. The presence of smokers, even as little as one hour a day, can almost triple a woman's risk of contracting breast cancer, the second leading cause of deaths among all American women, and the leading cause of death among middle-aged women.

          Exposure to an hour a day of tobacco smoke triples a woman's risk of breast cancer. See Alfredo Morabia, Bernstein M, Heritier S, Khatchatrian N, "Relation of Breast Cancer with Passive and Active Exposure to Tobacco Smoke," 143 Am J Epidemiol (#9) 918-928 (1 May 1996).

          Dr. Morabia headed a team of researchers from the University Hospital in Geneva, Switzerland, who analyzed the smoking (a mental disorder whose chief overt symptom is dangerousness to self and others), and exposure of nearly 1300 women. Among their findings:

  • Even a mere 1-10 cigarettes a day was enough to double a woman's risk of breast cancer.

  • Smoking 10 to 19 cigarettes a day saw the risk jump almost five fold.

  • Women who were exposed to toxic tobacco smoke (TTS) for one hour per day for 12 consecutive months nearly tripled their risk of contracting this deadly disease.

              More women die of breast cancer than from any other cancer. It is now the third leading cause of death in American women.

              Last year doctors diagnosed cancer of the breast in 182,000 women, and 46,000 died from it. It kills more middle-age women than any other disease. Every fifteen minutes at least three women will develop breast cancer and one will die as a "natural and probable consequence."

              But it wasn't always this way. Just 50 years ago barely one out of every 28 women got breast cancer. Today the rate has skyrocketed to one in 8! What has changed?

              Obviously one of the most important changes in women's lives has been the holocaustal increase in smoking by American women, promoted by the doubly-fatal combination of media censorship of the hazard plus disinformation advertising debunking the medical truth.

              Another has been the widespread exposure of nonsmoking women to "Toxic Tobacco Smoke" (TTS, or sometimes, ETS), as more and more Americans smoked, and as women far more frequently worked outside the home in workplaces where smokers were unlawfully hired and smoking was left uncontrolled. This violates the common law duty on "fresh and pure air."

              Modern women are also far more likely to go to stores, restaurants, and other places of business where they were exposed to toxic tobacco smoke (TTS), even to drifting TTS in no-smoking sections. (Such sections leave the hazard in place, and the fatal consequences are "foreseeable.")

              Women should be especially careful to avoid any situation in which they are exposed to toxic tobacco smoke (TTS). (The cancer hazard was known before the year 1925.) The best way to avoid TTS exposures is to acknowledge the medical accuracy of the cigarette bans of that pre-1920's era, e.g., Iowa's comprehensive 1897 cigarette ban, and Tennessee's 1897 cigarette ban, and to get such laws passed (or repassed) and enforced banning the growth, manufacture, processing, sale, shipment, and advertising of tobacco.

  •          "The association of current smoking with fatal breast cancer risk increased with increasing numbers of cigarettes per day and with total number of years smoked. . . . the risk of fatal breast cancer was significantly associated with current smoking at baseline, number of cigarettes per day, years smoked, and age at initiation . . . ." See Eugenia E. Calle, Heidi L. Miracle-McMahill, Michael J. Thun, and Clark W. Heath, Jr., "Cigarette Smoking and Risk of Fatal Breast Cancer," 139 Am J Epidemiology (#10) 1001-1007 (15 May 1994).

    Another study confirms and elaborates prior data on the smoking link to breast cancer. It cited women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Some patients' sisters and daughters who smoked were more than twice to nearly six times as likely to develop breast cancer, compared with the nonsmoking sisters and daughters of patients. Smoking increases toxic chemicals, including carcinogens, cancer-causing chemicals, in the blood, developing foreseeable mutations in the DNA of breast cells which, in turn, lead to cancer. See Sellers, et al., 10 Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 327-332 (April 2001).

    "Mexican women who do not smoke but are exposed to smoking, known as environmental smoke exposure, are at three times higher risk for breast cancer than non-smoking women not exposed to passive smoking, according to findings presented at the Third AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities, being held Sept. 30-Oct.3, 2010," says the article "Breast cancer linked to environmental smoke exposure among Mexican women" (2 October 2010).

    Even tobacco industry consultant Peter Lee finds increased risk for breast cancer in passive smokers. He finds a relative risk of 1.54 based on total exposure to TTS. Of course, he tries to play down the links that he found, but he found increases in risk nonetheless. (His treatment of active smoking ignores the new evidence showing elevated risks of TTS in smokers that are higher than in passive smokers.) His paper is at this site.

    For Further Reading
    Hunter DJ, Hankinson S E, Hough H. et al, "A Prospective Study of NAT2 Acetylation Genotype, Cigarette Smoking and Risk of Breast Cancer," 18 Carcinogenesis 2127-2132 (1997) and 19 Carcinogenesis (#9) 1705 (Sep 1998)

    Morabia A, Bernstein M, and Heritier S, "Smoking and Breast Cancer: Reconciling the Epidemiologic Evidence by Accounting for Passive Smoking and/or Genetic Susceptibility," 147 Am J Epidemiol (#10) 992-993 (15 May 1998)

    Morabia A, Szklo M, Stewart W, Schuman L, Thomas DB. "Consistent Lack of Association between Breast Cancer and Oral Contraceptives Using Either Hospital or Neighborhood Controls," 22 Prev Med (#2) 178-186 (March 1993)

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