Smoking Causes Half of Deaths from 12 Cancers

The American Cancer Society has published an analysis in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine estimating that of the deaths in 2011 from 12 smoking-related cancers, almost half were tied to cigarette smoking.

This study goes beyond the 2014 U.S. Surgeon General report because it includes 11 specific cancers attributed to smoking, in addition to lung cancer. The analysis also states that smoking patterns have changed. While the rate of smoking fell from 23.2 percent in 2000 to 18.1 percent in 2012, the risk of cancer in smokers can increase over time.  Data for the analysis was pulled from the 2011 National Health Interview Survey, the Cancer Prevention Study II, and a study known as the pooled contemporary cohort.

Overall, the researchers estimated that 167,805 deaths out of a total of 345,962 from the 12 cancers were attributable to smoking cigarettes. Respiratory cancers, such as lung, bronchus and trachea, accounted for the most smoking-related deaths at 125,799 cases. Voice box cancer attributed for 2,856 deaths. Furthermore, almost half of cancer mortalities from oral cavity, esophagus and urinary bladder cancers were attributed to smoking.

One limitation of the analysis was the population was less racially diverse and more educated than the general American population. The study also did not include effects from secondhand smoke. Researchers urged more comprehensive tobacco control and support for quitting smoking.

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