Researchers found in a pilot study that women who live with smokers may be up to six times more likely of developing lung cancer. The research was conducted at the City of Hope National Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. In this study, tissue cells from a group of women who lived with smokers were examined for the absence of a specific gene that helps fight inactivate carcinogens found in smoke. The results showed that the 106 women in the study group increased their risk from lung cancer between 2.6 and 6 times more likely than those who were not exposed to second hand smoke.
Presently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that secondhand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer by only 20%. Researchers are suggesting that additional studies need to be done on larger samples of the population.
Aside from the health effects to those involved, there are serious legal implications for the tobacco industry in their ongoing court battles against states and individuals suing for damages do to smoking. Presently a Federal Judge in North Carolina has ruled in favor of the tobacco industry in their lawsuit challenging the EPA's secondhand smoke report.