If you thought tanning was the only thing that puts you at risk for skin cancer, think again: Researchers just discovered a pretty alarming connection between the disease and smoking.
Two groups of women were tested: one with skin cancer and one without. The women were asked about their smoking habits to see if there was any correlation between lighting up and developing cancer. And sure enough, the study found that women who had squamous cell skin cancer were more likely to be smokers, and that women who smoked for 20-plus years were more than twice as likely to have developed the disease as non-smokers. The researchers explained that since cigarette smoke contains carcinogens, the ash and smoke that comes into contact with their faces throughout the day ultimately puts their skin at risk.
But get this: Men who smoke had only a “modest” risk of developing skin cancer according to the study, and at a much lower level than women. The researchers aren’t exactly sure what puts women at an elevated risk.
If you follow our Practice Safe Sun campaign, you know that most cases of skin cancer are 100 percent preventable—and not smoking is another risk factor you can easily avoid. So if you smoke, we hope this alarming new research helps you kick the habit for good.