There’s now another reason to quit smoking.

The strongest evidence gathered yet, reveals smokers are significantly more likely to develop skin cancer.

Marisa Kuhlewein reports.


The research began in 2010.

It followed Queenslanders aged between 40 to 69.

Prof. David Whiteman, QIMR Berghofer: “So we were looking at a population of people who were at risk of skin cancer but had not had cancer. Some of them were smokers, some of them were non-smokers and we followed them up for three years to see who developed skin cancer and who didn’t.”

It found smokers are about two and a half times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinomas, or SCC.

Almost half a million Aussies will be affected by skin cancer, that’s the highest incidence in the world.

Exposure to the sun is the single biggest cause.

Prof David Whiteman, QIMR Berghofer: “But if you’re exposed to the sun, as you are in Qld, and you smoke, then your risks are higher than other Queenslanders who don’t smoke.”

Vox Pop 1:¬†“I’d say that’s surprising. I’ve never heard that before.”

Vox Pop 2:¬†“Yeah I wouldn’t have picked it.”

More research is needed to understand why smokers are only at risk to the SCC, and not other skin cancers.

While previous studies have linked smoking to cancer, Professor Whiteman’s study is the most comprehensive of its kind in the world, with almost 20,000¬†Queensland participants.

The good news is, the risk of developing the cancer drops off as soon as you quit smoking.

Marisa Kuhlewein, QUT News.