09/30/2013 03:25 EDT

Edmontonians Exposed To More Cancer Risks Than Calgarians: Study

cigarette smoke and a cup o...

If you're looking to expose yourself to less cancer risk, you may want to live in Calgary over Edmonton.

According to a new report, 'Population Health in Canada's Largest Cities,' Calgarians expose themselves to less cancer risk than their capital city counterparts – with the exception of drinking and work activities.

Led by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, the study finds that western municipalities tend to have healthier lifestyles than their eastern counterparts, consequently leading to better cancer risk profiles.

Additionally, Calgary ranks in the top third of most indicators related to prevention, while Edmonton ranks in the middle or bottom third.

In Calgary, 18.3 per cent of the population over the age of 12 reported daily or occasional smoking -- contrasted by 23.1 per cent of Edmontonians.

Compared to the rest of Canada, Alberta ranks in the middle of the pack with 22 per cent of the population reporting cigarette smoking, compared to the lowest amount in B.C. (16.6 per cent) and the highest percentage in Nunavut (57.1 per cent.)

Fewer Calgarians also report exposure to second-hand smoke than their northern neighbours.

According to the study, 10.4 per cent of Calgary's population over the age of 12 reported being exposed to smoke in a public place every day or almost every

day in 2010 and 2011, while 12.7 per cent of Edmontonians report the same thing.

Calgarians are also less likely to be exposed to second-hand smoke in vehicles, less likely to be obese or overweight, and women are more likely in Calgary to be screened for breast and cervical cancer.

However, Calgary falls behind when it comes to alcohol-related cancer risks. More Edmontonians reported being teetotalers (21.1 per cent versus 19.7 per cent in Calgary).

More Edmontonians also reported being active during work and leisure time.

Rami Rahal, director of system performance with the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, told Metro News the goal of the study is to alert the population to the differences in exposure to cancer risk – even in neighbouring cities – and learn from best practices being used in those municipalities.

“We wanted to focus at the municipal level as opposed to the provincial level, because there are lots of factors that contribute to living a healthy lifestyle,” he said.

“Municipal governments can put in place a lot of enablers for healthy living through bylaws.”

Also on HuffPost

Know Your Body, Spot Cancer Symptoms