BACKGROUND: Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for head and neck cancer (HNC). To our knowledge, low cigarette smoking (0-3, >3-5, >5-10 cigarettes per day. RESULTS: Smoking >0-3 cigarettes per day was associated with a 50% increased risk of HNC in the study population [odds ratio (OR) = 1.52, 95% confidence interval (CI): (1.21, 1.90). Smoking >3-5 cigarettes per day was associated in each subgroup from OR = 2.01 (95% CI: 1.22, 3.31) among never alcohol drinkers to OR = 2.74 (95% CI: 2.01, 3.74) among women and in each cancer site, particularly laryngeal cancer (OR = 3.48, 95% CI: 2.40, 5.05). However, the observed increased risk of HNC for low smoking frequency was not found among smokers with smoking duration shorter than 20 years. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest a public health message that low frequency of cigarette consumption contributes to the development of HNC. However, smoking duration seems to play at least an equal or a stronger role in the development of HNC.
- Head and neck cancer
- low frequency cigarette smoking
- pooled analysis
- risk factors