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Nearly 800,000 deaths prevented due to declines in smoking
Date:3/14/2012

ave been avoided if everyone who smoked quit in 1965 and no one started smoking. If tobacco control efforts had been completely successful, an additional 1.7 million lung cancer deaths would have been averted from 1975 through 2000. In total, if all smoking had ceased completely in 1965, as many as 2.5 million fewer people would have died from lung cancer (1.6 million men and 883,000 women).

"An overwhelming majority of lung cancer deaths can be prevented by eliminating cigarette smoking," said study author Eric Feuer, Ph.D., chief of NCI's Statistical Methodology and Applications Branch. "The progress that has been made by tobacco control programs and policies in reducing lung cancer deaths represents about a third of the progress that could have been made if all cigarette smoking had ceased in 1965. This finding indicates that, while great strides have been made in tobacco control averting hundreds of thousands of lung cancer deaths in the United States continued and enhanced efforts have the potential to avert even more deaths."

The researchers estimations only run through the year 2000 because, for more recent years, sufficiently detailed data were unavailable when the project began. However, it can be inferred that additional lung cancer deaths have been averted since the year 2000, because according to previous research, smoking rates among U.S. adults have continued to fall, dropping from 23.2 percent in 2000 to 20.6 percent in 2008, and leveling off in recent years. Previous research indicates that much of the decrease in smoking rates can be attributed to tobacco control policies. In addition, although beyond the scope of the journal article, rates of other smoking related cancers, and smoking-related diseases, such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, have declined due to tobacco control programs
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Contact: NCI Office of Media Relations
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NIH/National Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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