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Smoke-Free Environments Linked to Less Breast Cancer

FRIDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- Women in smoke-free homes and workplaces are less likely to develop or die from breast cancer, new research shows.

U.S. researchers compared rates of non-smoking homes and workplaces with state-specific rates of breast cancer incidence and death. States with higher numbers of smoke-free homes and workplaces had significantly fewer breast cancer deaths, particularly among younger premenopausal women.

Researchers estimate that about 20 percent of the change in breast-cancer death rates is due to changes in smoke-free home and workplace policies.

The study by researchers in the department of health behavior at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., was released online March 12 in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the journal Tobacco Control.

"While the evidence for secondhand smoke and breast cancer risk remains controversial, this study demonstrates a very strong inverse correlation. States with higher percentages of women working and living in smoke-free spaces have lower breast cancer rates," study author Andrew Hyland said in an institute news release.

"This study provides yet another reason for people to stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke exposure," added colleague K. Michael Cummings.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about secondhand smoke and cancer.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Roswell Park Cancer Institute, news release, March 16, 2011

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