Environmental exposure and cancer prevention

Programme stream(s): Prevention
Programme session type(s): Recent Advances session

Chair: Linda Bauld, University of Stirling, UK
Speaker: Marion MacFarlane, University of Leicester, UK
Speaker: Lion Shahab, University College London, UK
Speaker: John Cherrie, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, UK


Room: M2-4

This session will examine environmental exposures that may be relevant to cancer and have so far to date received less attention than other potential risk factors. It will also examine these exposures in contrast to well-established preventable risk factors.

The topics to be covered include: carbon nanotubes; air pollution and alternative nicotine delivery devices (e-cigarettes and heat not burn tobacco).

Air pollution and cancer
Speaker: John Cherrie
Affiliation: Heriot Watt University and the Institute of Occupational Medicine


Air pollution is a risk factor for cancer. Outdoor air pollution is a complex mixture of gases (e.g. NO2, SO2 and O3) and particles (e.g. PM2.5) that arise from a diverse range of sources, including motor vehicles and industrial facilities. An increased risk of lung cancer is consistently seen in epidemiological studies and in animal toxicology and the risk is most clearly associated with exposure to particulate matter. Epidemiological studies have mostly been carried out in Europe and North America where PM2.5 concentrations are typically between around 10 and 30 micro-g/m3; much higher concentrations are seen in emerging economies in Southeast Asia and elsewhere. There is limited evidence that bladder cancer risks are associated with outdoor pollution.  In Europe and North America air pollution levels are steadily decreasing over time as a result of technological developments reducing emissions, but in other parts of the world levels are increasing. There are limited possibilities for reduction in exposure from behavioral interventions. There is uncertainty about the magnitude of the risk and the shape of the exposure-response curve, but a 10 micro-g/m3 in outdoor PM2.5 could result in a reduction in the lung cancer population attributable fraction of between around 3% and 30%

Use and safety of novel alternative nicotine delivery devices: a role for cancer harm reduction?
Speaker: Lion Shahab
Affiliation: University College London


This presentation will cover latest data from the UK and further afield to evaluate the role that alternative nicotine delivery devices can play in harm reduction. This talk will have a specific focus on e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn devices, their safety, current prevalence of use and impact on smoking cessation.