Study Links Workplace Secondhand Smoke, Cancer

According to a recent study, people who smoke on the job might be placing their fellow co-workers at risk of developing lung cancer.

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago examined 22 studies of workplace secondhand smoke exposure and found that there was a 24 percent increase in lung cancer risk among workers who were regularly exposed.

Lung cancer risks for workers were doubled when they were highly exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke on the job. The longer a worker was exposed to secondhand smoke, the greater the risk of developing cancer.

The lead author of the study, University of Illinois at Chicago epidemiologist Leslie Stavner, said he believes the study provides "the strongest evidence to date of the relationship between workplace environmental tobacco smoke and lung cancer."

Smoking Still Permitted in Some Businesses

Despite the fact that several states across the country have enacted laws that ban smoking in workplaces and other indoor public places, Stavner, along with other researchers and authors of the study, notes that about 30 percent of all U.S. workplaces still permit cigarette smoking.

Smoking bans also have been introduced in several countries in Europe, where smoking in public is commonplace.

As of Feb 1. in France, smoking no longer will be allowed in public places such as schools, hospitals and workplaces. A similar smoking ban will be enforced in July in England.

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