Listen up, women and girls: Smoking causes breast cancer.

An international panel of experts convened by the University of Toronto recently reviewed all the evidence linking smoking to breast cancer and found the association to be strong. Smoking and second-hand smoke both increase the risk of breast cancer. For instance, women who start smoking at an early age have a 20 per cent increased risk of breast cancer, the researchers found.

Risk for breast cancer can be 35 to 50 per cent higher in long-term smokers who have a certain type of genetic coding. About half of North American women have this genotype, wrote the panelists.

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