New analysis of lung cancer and passive smoking studies confirms risk
A study published in this week's British Medical Journal  has confirmed that passive smoking increases the risk of lung cancer, even if the risk may not be as high as previously estimated.
The study is a theoretical analysis of the data - there are no new studies under consideration. The research is an examination of 'publication bias' - i.e. the fact that if unpublished studies are not taken into account, the estimated risk calculated from just those studies that have been published could give a biased result.
The authors are working on the assumption that certain studies showing no link or a weak link between Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) and lung cancer will not have been published. If the missing studies were published, the risk of lung cancer from passive smoking would be 15% and not 24% as concluded by Hackshaw's meta analysis .
Commenting on the research, Amanda Sandford said:
"The new research estimates that the increased risk of lung cancer from exposure to passive smoking is 15%. This is still within the range of previously published research. ETS remains a cause of lung cancer, ischaemic heart disease, middle ear disease and childhood respiratory disease."
Sandford added: "ETS is an irritant in the short term to the throat and eyes and in the long term seriously affects your health. The Study confirms the findings that ETS is a cause of lung cancer."