Secondhand smoke exposure in early life and the risk of breast cancer among never smokers (United States) Academic Article uri icon

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  • Evidence is increasing that some early life exposures affect breast cancer risk. Exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) during childhood may be one such exposure. As part of the WEB Study (Western New York Exposures and Breast Cancer Study), we conducted a population-based, case-control study with 1166 women aged 35 to 79 diagnosed with histologically confirmed, primary, incident breast cancer. Controls (n = 2105) were randomly selected from the Department of Motor Vehicles driver's license list (< or =age 65) and the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services rolls (> age 65). Participants were queried regarding household and workplace SHS exposure. Person-years of lifetime cumulative SHS exposure were computed as well as cumulative exposure up to 21 years of age. Unconditional logistic regression adjusting for potential confounders was used to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Lifetime cumulative exposure to household SHS was not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk for premenopausal (OR = 1.17, 95% CI = 0.54-2.56) or postmenopausal (OR = 1.29; 95% CI = 0.82-2.01) women. Neither was risk increased among women exposed to SHS before the age of 21 or at the time of birth, menarche, or a women's first birth. In this study, exposure to SHS either in adult or early life does not appear to be associated with the risk of breast cancer.


  • Bonner, Matthew R
  • Nie, Jing
  • Han, Daikwon
  • Vena, John E
  • Rogerson, Peter
  • Muti, Paola
  • Trevisan, Maurizio
  • Edge, Stephen B
  • Freudenheim, Jo L

publication date

  • August 2005