Smoking Habits are Strongly Associated With Colorectal Polyps in a Population-based Case-control Study

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The goal of this study is to test the association between lifetime smoking habits and colorectal polyps of different classifications.


Smoking is an established risk factor for several cancers, including colorectal cancer. However, the association between lifetime smoking habits including intensity, duration, and cessation, and premalignant colorectal polyps is yet to be established.


A case-control study among 828 consecutive subjects aged 40 to 70 years, undergoing screening or diagnostic colonoscopy. Exclusion criteria were: medically treated diabetes, colectomy, and belonging to colorectal cancer high risk group. Polyps were stratified according to histology (serrated or adenomatous polyp) and location. All participants underwent anthropometric measurements and a structured medical and lifestyle interview.


Current-smoking was more strongly associated with increased odds for distal rather than proximal polyps [odds ratio (OR), 4.00; 95% confidence interval (CI), 2.40-6.68 and OR, 2.52; 95% CI, 1.46-4.36, respectively], with serrated-polyps rather than adenomas (OR, 6.36; 95% CI, 2.77-14.57 and OR, 3.01; 1.90-4.74, respectively). All levels of smoking intensity (daily cigarettes) were associated with colorectal polyps. A dose-response association was seen between smoking duration and colorectal polyps. Smoking duration of ≥20 years was strongly associated with distal polyps (OR, 4.01; 95% CI, 1.62-9.84), independently of potential confounders, smoking intensity and years since smoking cessation. All associations were stronger for distal serrated polyps.


Smoking duration is associated with colorectal plyps, independently of other potential confounders, smoking intensity, and cessation. The association is stronger with distal rather than proximal polyps, and with serrated polyps rather than adenomas.

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