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Tobacco has been linked to another cancer

From submitted reports

Scientists have said for years that tobacco causes lung cancer, but recent research is also linking it to breast cancer.

In January, the California Air Resources Board classified secondhand smoke as a Toxic Air Contaminant, citing research that demonstrated an increased risk of breast cancer in primarily younger pre-menopausal women.

"We can see the importance of mammography and regular self breast exams, but environmental risks and lifestyle choices sometimes defeat even our best efforts," said Marion County HomeTown Health Cancer Awareness Committee chair Dee Williams.

Early studies on breast cancer and secondhand smoke had been inconclusive because of the complexity of variables. Studies cited in 2006 by the California Environmental Protection Agency have shown a 68 percent increased risk of contracting the disease due to exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.

Secondhand smoke had already been linked to adult incidences of lung and nasal sinus cancer, heart disease, eye and nasal irritation and asthma.

"The Air Resources Board's action rightfully puts secondhand tobacco smoke in the same category as the most toxic industrial air pollutants," Tobacco-Free Marion County program coordinator Julie Andersen said. "Arkansans, especially parents, would not willingly fill their homes with motor vehicle exhaust, and they should feel the same way about tobacco smoke."

Research published in the British Medical Journal in 2005 revealed that children exposed daily to secondhand smoke were twice as likely to develop lung cancer later in life.

Lung cancer will kill more than 160,000 Americans this year alone, causing more deaths than breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney cancers and melanoma combined, research shows.

"In fact, lung cancer death rates for women have soared to epidemic proportions in the past two decades, especially in nonsmoking women," Lung Cancer Alliance president Laurie Fenton said.

Three-fourths of nonsmokers diagnosed with lung cancer are women.

This year is the 20th anniversary of lung cancer overtaking breast cancer as the leading killer of women.

According to the National Cancer Institute all cancer death rates have reduced since 1975 with the exception of female lung cancer.

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