A detailed and exhaustive US study found that women who smoke expose themselves to similar risks of lung cancer as men who smoke.
But, those women who did not smoke seemed to carry a greater risk of lung cancer compared to non smoking men, according to a report from National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Lead researcher Neal Freedman said, "It has been known for a long time that smoking is strongly associated as a cause of lung cancer. But there has been quite a bit of debate about whether the association is similar in men and women."
Explaining the importance of the study, Freedman said, "Before this, there was some evidence that women were more susceptible to carcinogens in cigarette smoking than men."
Freedman's team studied the data pertaining to habits, exercise pattern and the diet of 279,214 men and 184,623 women between the ages of 50 and 71 years. The study revealed that 1.47 percent of the men and 1.21 percent of the women became victims of lung cancer. The women who never smoked were 1.3 times more likely to develop lung cancer than non smoking men.
"The most effective way to prevent lung cancer is for men and women not to smoke, or if they are smoking to quit," Freedman said.
Thomas Glynn, the American Cancer Society's senior director of international tobacco control, said "The conclusion reached that women are more or less susceptible to lung cancer goes back to the adage, 'Women who smoke like men die like men'. This study shows that women who smoked like men get lung cancer like men."