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Cigarette, cigar and pipe smoking, passive smoke exposure, and risk of pancreatic cancer: a population-based study in the San Francisco Bay Area

Gregory J Tranah1*, Elizabeth A Holly2, Furong Wang2 and Paige M Bracci2

Author Affiliations

1 California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, CA, 94107, USA

2 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California San Francisco, CA, 94143, USA

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BMC Cancer 2011, 11:138  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-138

Published: 15 April 2011



To examine the influence of cigarette, cigar and pipe smoking, cessation of cigarette smoking and passive smoke exposure on the risk of pancreatic cancer.


Exposure data were collected during in-person interviews in a population-based case-control study of pancreatic cancer (N = 532 cases, N = 1701 controls) in the San Francisco Bay Area. Odds ratios (ORs) were adjusted for potential confounders.


The adjusted odds ratio (OR) of pancreatic cancer among current smokers was 1.9 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.4-2.7). A significant, positive trend in risk with increasing pack-years of smoking was observed (P-trend <0.0001). Compared with participants who continued to smoke, former smokers had no statistically significant elevation in risk of pancreatic cancer 10 years after smoking cessation, with risk reduced to that of never smokers regardless of prior smoking intensity. Both men and women experienced similar increased risk of pancreatic cancer with increasing smoking duration. Cigar and pipe smoking and exposure to passive smoke were not associated with pancreatic cancer.


Cigarette smoking is associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Smokers who had quit for ≥10 years no longer experienced an increased risk. Future work will help to determine the effect of declining smoking rates on pancreatic cancer incidence.