J Korean Med Assoc.  2003 Jan;46(1):12-20. 10.5124/jkma.2003.46.1.12.

Passive Smoking and Lung Cancer

  • 1Division of Lung Cancer Control & Epidemiology, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Korea. hbb@ncc.re.kr


Active smoking is a major cause of lung cancer. The dose-response relation between exposure to tobacco smoke and risk of lung cancer is almost linear. No threshold level is apparent below which the risk of lung cancer is not increased. Environmental tobacco smoke(ETS) inhaled by passive smokers contains most of the carcinogenic compounds inhaled directly by smokers. Carcinogens specific to tobacco smoke and carcinogen-DNA adducts are found in urine and blood samples of passive smokers. Animal experiments also suggest the carcinogenic effect of ETS. So the existence of association of passive smoking and lung cancer is biologically plausible. There are convincing epidemiologic evidences that ETS is causally related to the development of lung cancer. The studies of household exposure by spouse and workplace exposure have been found that passive smoking increased the risk of lung cancer. There are controversies about the relationship between exposure to ETS in childhood and the risk of lung cancer. However, some reports showed the causal relationship between childhood ETS exposure and lung cancer. It is necessary that non-smokers and smokers have a knowledge of the harmful effect of passive smoking to protect their health.


Lung cancer; Passive smoking; Smoking; Environmental tobacco smoke(ETS)
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