Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Lung Cancer: A Critical Assessment

  • E. L. Wynder
  • G. C. Kabat
Part of the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health Supplement book series (OCCUPATIONAL)


The possibility that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) may increase the lung cancer risk of nonsmokers has become a cause of public concern. It is unknown whether the levels of carcinogens in the diluted sidestream smoke of tobacco products that reach the nonsmoker’s lung are sufficient to induce cancer. Available epidemiologic studies suggest a slight increase in the relative risk of lung cancer in nonsmokers due to exposure to ETS created by a smoking spouse. However, not all studies have found a significant association. The epidemiologic studies are examined in the light of the criteria of judgment of causality, including strength of association, consistency, temporality, methodological issues, and biological plausibility. Suggestions for further research, including studies in high-exposure populations and greater attention to histology, are proposed.


Lung Cancer Environmental Tobacco Smoke Lung Cancer Risk Passive Smoking Lung Cancer Mortality 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. L. Wynder
  • G. C. Kabat

There are no affiliations available

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