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Up to 40% of US Cancer Deaths Attributable To Cigarette Smoking

JAMA Internal Medicine published data that showed cigarette smoking as a major cause of cancer deaths across the United States. The report reveals that the southern states have experienced the highest rate (40 percent) of these deaths.

Lortet-Tieulent from the American Cancer Society and other researchers reported that:

  • The prevalence of smoking in the U.S. has reduced by over 50 percent since the first Surgeon General’s report on the health risks associated with cigarette smoking, came to light. In spite of this, over 40 million of adults smoke, making the habit the largest preventable cause of death from cancer and other ailments. In 2010, cigarette smoking accounted for about 28.7% of all cancer deaths in the country for people aged 35 and above.
  • The cancers related to smoking include urinary bladder, larynx, liver, oral cavity, esophagus, kidney and renal pelvis, pancreas, cervix uteri, colorectum, lung and bronchus, stomach, trachea, and acute myeloid leukemia.
  • In men, cancer deaths related to smoking ranged from 21.8 percent in Utah to 39.5 percent in Arkansas. The rate of cancer deaths associated with smoking is higher in the south (up to 40 percent) though all states experience high human costs of smoking. Some of the ways to increase smoking cessation, reduce smoking initiation, and lower the future burden of cancers related to smoking are increasing the funding for tobacco control, strengthening the programs and policies for tobacco control, and implementing creative strategies.
  • Kurt M. Ribisl, PhD from the University of North Carolina and colleagues wrote an accompanying editorial to reveal the grim ramifications of disparities in smoking prevalence at the state level. Citing a CDC report, they indicated that tobacco control policies had stalled in some states. For example, they mentioned that cancer deaths attributed to smoking were highest in non-Hispanic blacks – this group smokes menthol cigarettes disproportionately, providing more evidence for the inclusion of menthol by FDA in regulating flavored tobacco products.

Implementing relevant tobacco policies at the local, state, and national levels will significantly help to reduce cancer deaths resulting from cigarette smoking.

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