A group of international experts — reviewing 50 previous studies on smoking — has concluded that secondhand tobacco smoke definitely causes cancer, the BBC reported June 19.
A working group from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), concluded that exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke increases the risk of developing cancers of the lung, uterus, cervix, liver, and kidneys.
Sir Richard Doll, another of the experts in the group, said, “Environmental tobacco smoke that people experience at work or at home is definitely a cause of lung cancer. That has been discussed for a long time but this is the first time a group of independent scientists have reviewed all the evidence and said there is no question it is a cause of lung cancer.”
“This is the first time that a global organization has concluded that exposure to second hand smoke is linked to cancer,” said Dr Kurt Straif, who organized the IARC meeting.
Doll said the findings should have a significant impact on health policies throughout the world and strengthen arguments for a ban on smoking in workplaces.
Marsha Williams of the anti-tobacco campaigning group Action on Smoking and Health agreed. “Passive smoking is quite clearly more than just the nuisance many of the world's tobacco companies would have us believe,” Williams said. “People are harmed and killed by it and it is time industry, government and smokers themselves woke up to this fact.”