PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It is a well-known fact that cigarette smoking can increase the risk of lung cancer, but according to a report in the British Medical Journal, it can play a role in the development of breast cancer as well.

A study out of West Virginia University looked at over 80,000 women and followed them for 10 years. What they found is that cigarette smokers were at a 16 percent greater risk for breast cancer compared to non-smokers. Even those who kick the habit were at a nine percent greater risk.

When they took a look at the effect of long-term smoking the researchers found the longer a woman smoked the greater her risk for breast cancer. Perhaps the most disturbing part of all the statistics is the fact that the increased risk continued for up to 20 years after a woman stopped smoking.

If lung cancer and emphysema and heart disease were not enough reasons to quit, perhaps the concern over breast cancer might be a motivation. Put simply, smoking cigarettes is one of the worst things you can do for your health.

Reported by Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio

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