Jun 17, 2015

More than 48% of adult cancer deaths can be linked to smoking, American Cancer Society study finds ]

More than 48 percent of U.S. cancer deaths in 2011 among adults 35 and older can be linked to smoking, says a study by the American Cancer Society published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers examined 12 cancer sites, finding that of the 345,962 deaths among adults 35 and older, 167,805 were caused by cigarette smoking. Smoking rates are particularly high in rural areas, with a 2014 study finding that 26.9 percent of adults in non-metro areas were smokers in 2010. 

Researchers found that "the largest proportions of smoking-attributable deaths were for cancers of the lung, bronchus and trachea (80.2 percent) and larynx (76.6 percent). Approximately half of the deaths from cancers of the oral cavity, esophagus and urinary bladder were due to smoking." (American Cancer Society graphic) 

The study comes on the heels of an Australian study released in February that found that more than two-thirds of adult smokers die from smoking-related deaths. Another study from February, funded by the American Cancer Society, linked more diseases than previously thought to smoking. 

The findings of the latest study "are in a stark contrast to a 2014 U.S. Surgeon General's Report which characterizes the toll of death and disease from tobacco as falling over the years thanks to interventions," Ariana Eunjung Cha reports for The Washington Post. "That's because the report looks only at the smoking-attributable deaths from lung cancer specifically but not the others that are also caused by smoking."

Researchers note "that smoking prevalence decreased from 23.2 percent to 18.1 percent from 2000 to 2012," Cha writes. "But they wrote, 'Cigarette smoking continues to cause numerous deaths from multiple cancers despite half a century of decreasing prevalence.'" (Read more