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Burning incense increases risk of respiratory tract cancers
Date:8/25/2008

mous cell carcinomas in the entire respiratory tract. Squamous cells cover the internal and external surfaces of the body.

According to the study data, incense use seemed to add to the increased risk of upper respiratory tract squamous cell carcinoma in smokers. It also considerably increased the risk in never smokers, which points to an independent effect of incense smoke.

The authors note that their study is the first prospective investigation on incense and cancer risk. They stressed that incense use extends beyond the Chinese populationsit is used on a daily basis in both temples and homes in many non-Chinese, Asian communities, including those in Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Regular use also occurs in the West.

"Given the widespread and sometimes involuntary exposure to smoke of burning incense, these findings carry significant public health implications," they wrote. "Besides initiatives to reduce incense smoke exposure, future studies should be undertaken to identify the least harmful types of incense," they added.


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Contact: David Sampson
david.sampson@cancer.org
American Cancer Society
Source:Eurekalert

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