Study: Smoking Increases Breast Cancer Risk

If you were looking for yet another reason to trash that last pack of cigarettes, medical journal Archives of Internal Medicine has got one for you. Smoking slightly ups your odds of developing breast cancer, according to a study.

USA Today reports a study followed 110,000 women over a 30-year period and found that smoking upped the odds of breast cancer by 6 percent. And women who start smoking before they have children have an 18 percent greater risk.

The World Health Organization says smoking kills 5.7 million people a year.

If you’ve managed to quit smoking, what worked for you?

Smoking slightly increases the risk of breast cancer, a new study shows [USA Today]


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  1. davidsco says:

    uh, YA THINK!!!! Study: Driving into brick walls causes car damage

    • Grogey says:

      I think its more of the idea/problem is that people associate smoking with just lung cancer.

      • Mighty914 says:

        One would think that “just” lung cancer would be enough of a deterrent too, but alas…

      • Nidoking says:

        Perhaps, but I can’t imagine anyone saying “I was okay with lung cancer, but if it’s going to be breast cancer, I’m definitely quitting!”

        • MuffinSangria says:

          It has more to do with personal experience. For example, I can think of at least 50 people that I know who smoke regularly. I’ve only known 1 person who had lung cancer that was caught very early and he’s fine. I can think of at least 5 women I know who have had breast cancer. 3 beat it, 1 died, and the last one is cancer free but has been struggling for years to stay alive from the deadly side effects of the treatment (yes, certain cancer treatments can kill you).

          Therefore from my experience, as a smoker (who is trying to quit) I am more afraid of breast cancer then lung cancer.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      From the article:

      “Scientists have known for decades that tobacco causes lung cancer and at least nine other types of tumors…But smoking’s relationship to breast cancer have been less clear”

      So STFU, it’s new research.

  2. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    In before all but one of the “No duh” comments.

    Lest you forget: not so long ago everyone thought smoking was risk free until scientists did studies like this.

    So shut yer trap.

    • plumbob says:

      Till scientists did studies?

      Pope Urban banned smoking in public 1590.
      James the First banned smoking from his court.
      Numerous European cities banned public smoking in the 1600-1700’s
      The Nazi’s banned smoking in public buildings in the 1940’s and smoking wasn’t even definitively linked to lung cancer till 1950!

      It doesn’t take a scientist or any sort of modern analytical methods to deduce that smokers live shorter, less healthful lives.

      I see you trollin’

      • jason in boston says:

        Do we have proof that the smoking ban was due to actually damaging health, or was it for more cosmetic / terrible smell reasons?

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        A ban is not scientific proof that it’s harmful. People have thought that smoking was a bad habit for decades, but not because of their health.

        We are talking about double-blind scientific studies, not the whims of a dictator.


    • homehome says:

      What’s funny is if you find some old vidoes, ppl would actually be sitting on tv talking about how marijuana would kill u and cause you to commit crimes, while chain smoking on tv lol. For a long time, nobody thought smoking hurt you.

    • Starfury says:

      I worked in a hospital for many (too many) years and the doctors would smoke in their offices in the X-ray department. As time went on the policies changed to just the cafeteria…then the back of the cafeteria…then outside (always fun to see the smokers freezing out there) to no smoking at all on the hospital grounds.

      Only took about 20 yrs for all this to happen.

  3. Nidoking says:

    Smoking increases the risk of cancer? Who could have seen that coming?

    Honestly, I can’t imagine that this comes as news to anyone, or that one additional type of cancer will dissuade anyone who continues to smoke, or decides to take up the habit, after all the research that’s already been done on the subject. Linking smoking to cancer anymore is like linking rain to clouds. Hooray, now give us our grant money.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      It’s BREAST cancer, not “cancer”. Huge difference. RTFA.

      • Nidoking says:

        Breast cancer is not cancer? Next you’ll be telling me that red pandas aren’t really pandas! What is the world coming to?

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          From the article:

          “Scientists have known for decades that tobacco causes lung cancer and at least nine other types of tumors…But smoking’s relationship to breast cancer have been less clear”

          You implied we already knew it caused BREAST cancer, which we did not. Read the fucking article next time and maybe you’ll learn something.

        • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

          Also, Red Pandas aren’t actually pandas, either. They’re actually more closely related to Weasels, Muskrats, and the like.

          *The More You Know*

  4. cspschofield says:

    Just to drop a little sodium in the swimming pool;

    It is common to talk about any defense of smoking being paid for by Big Tobacco, but who looks into the funding of studies like this? ANTI-smoking is big business too, these days. If you look into the statistics commonly quoted you find that, rather like the Temperance Movement circa 1919, the anti-smoking movement has left verifiable science behind and resorted to sermons …. not to say outright lies. For example, the “smoking kills” number you see everywhere tend to be based on assuming that every death by any disease that has been linked to smoking is ’caused’ by smoke, whether the deceased smoked or not.

    Smoking is a vice. So is anti-vice Crusading. When Prohibition blew up in the early 1930’s the cause of Temperance was severely damaged. The cultural icon of the benevolent drunk, which arose from the Speakeasy era, didn’t begin to die out for decades. The anti-smokers need to be jerked up short. If they ever do ban all smoking they will produce a black market unmatched for size since the passing of Repeal in 1933. That won’t be good for anybody but the smokeleggers.

    • plumbob says:

      Smoking will shorten your expected life-span, no one doubts that. But on the other hand, everyone knows that… You are 100% correct that the anti-smoking campaign is big business and cannot be shown to be effective in preventing smoking and getting people to quit.

      • MrEvil says:

        You’re right, at some point we just need to sit back and say “Ok, we’ve done all we can to warn people of the hazards of smoking and they still choose to do so. Let them live with their choice.”

        But again, cspschoefield, is correct. Anti-smoking is just as big a business as Tobacco these days.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Don’t forget that people are born every second. They need to be taught the dangers of smoking as well. Sadly, the mission never ends.

      • cspschofield says:

        Actually, I would say that it HAD been effective, at one point. In the decade after the release of the original Surgeon General’s report (in 1964), the percentage of smokers in the adult population dropped from about 66% to about 25% (always taking into account the factor of “how do they know this stuff anyway”). So, more than half the smokers had quit. But stating the facts of the matter – or for that matter trying to scare the bejesus out of smokers – only went so far. Depending on who you ask between one fifth and one quarter of the adult population smokes, and those numbers haven’t changed much in decades.

        The problem comes when “They” stop trying to persuade and start trying to browbeat. The EPA study admits (in the footnotes) that the highest concentration of SHS expected to be encountered in the real world would amount to smoking two-fifths of a cigarette per day. The widely hyped ‘link’ that the study makes between secondhand smoke and disease was declared fraudulent by a Federal judge. The other big study of SHS was done by the WHO; the only statistically significant relationship found was a TINY positive effect on childhood asthma …. children of smokers get it JUST enough less often in the populations studied that it nudges above the confidence interval.

        No, I don’t think smoking should be allowed everywhere. I also don’t think that people who dislike smoke should be allowed to lie about it’s health effects. I don’t get to ban Disco music, and it annoys the &^%^$#$^ out of me.

    • Hoss says:

      There are scientific studies linking eating hamburger with colon cancer too. I don’t want colon cancer so I don’t eat hamburgers. Funny the way that works, isn’t it

  5. plumbob says:

    If you can beat the cravings for three days you’re through the worst of it, make it a week and you are home free. I haven’t had a smoke in over a year, cold turkey is the way to go if you can make it; I understand it is the method wherein the most people stay nonsmokers long term.

    • failurate says:

      Congrats and I agree. Is there really any other way to quit something than cold turkey? I have had people tell me they are quitting while they are smoking a cigarette. That’s not quitting.

  6. RickinStHelen says:

    Yes we knew smoking is bad for you. They have known that since it was brought from America to England. That it was bad was not news. They were called coffin nails a long time before the surgeon general’s report. That said, look the the length of the report, 30 years. Assuming that it took a couple of years to compile and publish the results, that means the study dates back to the late 70s. This was when brands like Virginia Slims were marketed at women with slogans like “You’ve come a long way baby!”, and brands like Carlton were advertising less tar as a morehealthful smoke. Women were smoking in greater numbers as part of the freer society of the time.

    The point is, when they started the study, medical studies in general ignored women, and smoking was not yet the demon we see it as today.

  7. TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

    Wow, increases it all of 6%…….that’s a huge difference…….LOL
    Point is, what the fuck in the air that you breathe doesn’t cause some type of cancer…..well besides the obvious oxygen…..

    • fortymegafonzies says:

      From the abstract of the study, there’s a 95% chance that the actual increase in risk lies somewhere in between 1% and 10%. I always find these sorts of numbers pretty unconvincing as there’s a pretty fair possibility that there’s no effect at all or only a very small one.

  8. wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

    Smoking is bad for you in every possible way and you shouldn’t do it.

    Are we clear now?

    • Slave For Turtles says:

      Well, um, actually…
      “Several studies have shown that smokers have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.”
      But the fine print says, “given the many adverse consequences of smoking, no one would suggest smoking in order to prevent Parkinson’s disease.”

      And totally off topic, if you’re wonderkitty, why is there a beagle in your pic? Are you trans-species? I mean, that’s cool and all if you are. Just curious. ;-)

      • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

        I am bi-species. The love of my life (a tight and close second to my husband) is my newly adopted Beagle, Scooter. He rescued us by hanging in the shelter for us to find him. Since I’m wonderkitty and don’t like competition (and the Mr. is allergic), I think I will be the only kitty around.

  9. AllanG54 says:

    I quit smoking 34 years ago. Started when I was 16 quit when I was 22. Smoked about a pack a day. Gal who was to become my wife said, “you better quit smoking.” Finished the pack I had and never went back.

  10. lawnmowerdeth says:

    Yay, another Phil anti-smoking article!

  11. framitz says:

    I wonder how much it cost to do a study with obvious results going in?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      BREAST cancer is caused by smoking? Not so obvious. LUNG cancer maybe, which is well-established, but not BREAST cancer.

      Yeah, the details are everything these days.

  12. evnmorlo says:

    6 percent is pretty negligible, so as long as women wait until they have babies to smoke they’ll be fine.

  13. semidazed says:

    I sort of lucked out into quitting. Over a Christmas break, I got my wisdom teeth taken out (and wasn’t smoking) I developed dry-socket on both sides. Between the drugs and the pain, I pretty much missed out on withdraw and then after that it was just an effort not to start again.

    Plus, my New Year’s Resolution was to quit smoking… so I could either start smoking again and then quit or acknowledge that I had no intention of quitting. After a few weeks, I was out with friends and took a drag from one of their cigarettes and was disgusted. I haven’t picked one up in the two years since.

    So when people ask me how I quit, I just smile and say, “Vicodin.”

  14. nutbastard says:

    “The National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program has published its SEER Cancer Statistics Review 1975–2007 (1). This report estimates that, based on current rates, 12.2 percent of women born in the United States today will develop breast cancer at some time in their lives. This estimate is based on breast cancer statistics for the years 2005 through 2007.”

    Ok, so even with an “18% greater risk” that risk is approximately 14.39% – correct?

    File this one under “not a big deal”.

  15. SilverBlade2k says:

    How about just say “Smoking causes cancer – all types”..just to cover everything

  16. Wolfbird says:

    I quit with those patches (I bought offbrands, the “good stuff” melted my skin off all the time) and a week long vacation in Texas. I removed nearly all my triggers by being in an unfamiliar place with a totally different schedule. Yeah, I was an asshole to everyone but whatever.

    The first three days are the worst. Take a lot of showers, since inhaling massive amounts of steam kinda feels like taking a drag on a cigarette. I also didn’t associate showers with smoking, so that helped too.

  17. FrugalFreak says:

    Enough with the anti=smoking . Did someone recently quit smoking at consumerist and now gung ho about it?

  18. cspschofield says:

    I waited to post this so I could do a little brushing up on my understanding of statistical studies. I may still be shaky, but here goes;

    As I understand it, in this kind of study, reputable statisticians like to see a jump of 100% (or 2.0 vs a 1.0 baseline) before regarding a finding as statistically significant, and 200% (or 3.0 to a base of 1.0) before regarding a relationship as strong.

    6% does not seem to cut it.

    Now, maybe I am misunderstanding something. It’s been a long time since I took that course in “How To Lie With Statistics” (we used the book of that name as the text. I highly recommend it). But if I’m NOT missing something, this study principally proves that there is no relationship between illness and smoking too tenuous for the anti-smoking forces to try to capitalize on.

    Sort of like how everything bad that happens to a corrupt, incompetent Islamic government, no matter how weird (like shark attacks on tourist beaches) is always the fault of the Jooooos!

  19. Groanan says:

    Just Google “Why most published research findings are false” by John P. A. Ioannidis.
    Afterwards you can completely excuse yourself from taking health “news” seriously.

  20. BurtReynolds says:

    Oh did I used to enjoy those Kamel Reds and Kamel Red Lights.

  21. Jesse in Japan says:

    I quit smoking after my first puff of my first cigarette. And, through painful coughs, I said to the friend who offered it to me in the first place, “What the hell is wrong with you?”

    Peer pressure and teenage rebelliousness is one thing, but that frickin’ hurt.