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Secondhand Smoke Study Raises Ire

Study Shows No Association Between Passive Smoke and Health Risks; Others Criticize Research

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In fact, researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 that 75% of studies done between 1980 and 1995 that found no link between secondhand smoke and health problems were funded by tobacco companies. In that review, researchers examined 106 studies conducted in those 15 years; two in three indicated secondhand smoke does contribute to lung and heart disease.

"While this study is flawed, there are at least 50 very reputable studies that find a link between secondhand smoke and lung cancer and at least 50 others that find an increased risk of heart disease," says Thun.

Among them: Two findings from the newer Cancer Prevention Study II that began in the 1980s -- the follow-up to the study used for Enstrom's research -- that suggest nonsmokers face a 20% increased risk for both heart disease and lung cancer when exposed to secondhand smoke. "The consensus of multiple health committees from around the world, including the surgeon general, is that secondhand smoke is definitely related to lung cancer and heart disease, and may be also be related to chronic lung disease."

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