Secondhand smoke increases a woman's risk of cervical cancer. Although studies of cross sections of different populations have supported the connection with passive smoking, there has not been enough evidence from studies that tracked individuals over a period of time to see who develops cervical cancer. The current study, reported in Obstetrics and Gynecology (January 2005), addressed the link.
The study involved 25,000 women who were questioned about household smoking in 1963 and >26,000 who were surveyed in 1975. Cancer registry information was examined to determine the prevalence of cervical cancer in the 2 groups up to 15 years after they were surveyed. Data from the study found that exposure to passive smoking boosted the risk of cervical cancer by 2.1-fold in the 1963 group and 1.4-fold in the 1975 group. In contrast, the increased risk for women who actively smoked was 2.6-and 1.7-fold respectively.