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Breast cancer awareness month: 5 facts about tobacco

Tobacco has clear links to 12 different types of cancer. For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we investigated the connection between breast cancer and cigarette smoking. Evidence of a link is “suggestive but not sufficient,” according to the 2014 U.S. Surgeon General’s report on smoking, and some studies have shown a connection between tobacco and an increased risk of breast cancer. 

Take a look at these five research findings:

1. study of 20,600 women with breast cancer found that those who quit smoking had a 33 percent lower risk of death from breast cancer than those who continued to smoke. 

2. A study of more than 73,000 women found that current and former smokers had a higher incidence of breast cancer than people who had never smoked.

3. The same study found that women who began smoking at an earlier age—especially those who began before having their first child—had the highest risk of breast cancer.   

4. Breast tissue is not fully developed until after a woman has had a child, which could make it more susceptible to the harmful effects of tobacco.

5. Some research indicates that secondhand smoke may increase the risk of developing breast cancer. More research is needed, but The American Cancer Society says

this possible link to breast cancer is yet another reason to avoid secondhand smoke.

For more on the link between tobacco and cancer, check out Truth Initiative’s fact sheet.