Burning incense may create a sweet scent, but regularly inhaling the smoke could put people at risk of cancers of the respiratory tract, researchers reported Monday.
However, no studies until now had linked the practice of burning incense to an increased cancer risk over time, according to the researchers, led by Dr Jeppe T. Friborg of the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen.
How the study was done
For their study, the researchers followed 61 320 Singapore Chinese men and women between the ages of 45 and 74 from the Hokkien or Cantonese dialect group. All of the subjects were cancer-free at the outset.
Daily use shown to be dangerous to health
Those who used incense heavily also had higher rates of a type of cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, which refers to tumors that arise in the cells lining the internal and external surfaces of the body. The risk was seen in smokers and nonsmokers.
Incense calms anxiety, depression