• pancreatic cancer;
  • cigarette;
  • smoking;
  • environmental tobacco smoke;
  • cohort study


Cigarette smoking is an established risk factor for pancreatic cancer. However, prospective data for most European countries are lacking, and epidemiologic studies on exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in relation to pancreatic cancer risk are scarce. We examined the association of cigarette smoking and exposure to ETS with pancreatic cancer risk within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). This analysis was based on 465,910 participants, including 524 first incident pancreatic cancer cases diagnosed after a median follow-up of 8.9 years. Estimates of risk were obtained by Cox proportional hazard models and adjusted for weight, height, and history of diabetes mellitus. An increased risk of pancreatic cancer was found for current cigarette smokers compared with never smokers (HR = 1.71, 95% CI = 1.36–2.15), and risk increased with greater intensity and pack-years. Former cigarette smokers who quit for less than 5 years were at increased risk of pancreatic cancer (HR = 1.78, 95% CI = 1.23–2.56), but risk was comparable to never smokers after quitting for 5 years or more. Pancreatic cancer risk was increased among never smokers daily exposed to ETS (for many hours) during childhood (HR = 2.61, 95% CI = 0.96–7.10) and exposed to ETS at home and/or work (HR = 1.54, 95% CI = 1.00–2.39). These results suggest that both active cigarette smoking, as well as exposure to ETS, is associated with increased risk of pancreatic cancer and that risk is reduced to levels of never smokers within 5 years of quitting.