Despite significantly decreasing rates of smoking over the past 50 years, cigarette smoking continues to be the cause of death for various types of cancer, according to recently published data in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“From 2000 to 2010, smoking prevalence decreased from 23.2% to 18.1%. In contrast to this favorable trend, recently published data revealed that the risk of cancer death among smokers can increase over time,” Rebecca L. Siegel, MPH, of the American Cancer Society, and colleagues wrote.
The researchers used data from the 2011 National Health Interview Survey and the Cancer Prevention Study III to assess the death rates for 12 cancers caused by smoking among men and women aged 35 years and older. Cancer sites included lung, bronchus and trachea, esophagus, urinary bladder, liver and intrahepatic bile duct, colorectal, oral cavity and pharynx, larynx, kidney and renal pelvis, pancreas, stomach and myeloid leukemia.
Results demonstrated that 167,805 of the 345,962 deaths from 12 cancer sites in 2011 were caused by smoking cigarettes (48.5%; 95% CI, 46.2%-51.2%).
Overall, lung, bronchus and trachea cancers were found to have the highest death rates among cancers caused by smoking (80.2%; 95% CI, 79.2%-81.1%), followed closely by cancer of the larynx (76.6%; 95% CI, 68.7%-83.5%).
The researchers also found that nearly half of the cases of oral cavity, esophagus and urinary bladder cancer could be attributed to smoking.
The researchers noted that their cohort was not necessarily representative of the U.S. population, due to the participants’ high levels of education and lack of ethnic diversity. Additionally, when calculating results, researchers only accounted for cigarette smoke, not secondhand smoke, or the smoking of cigars, pipes or smokeless tobacco.
“Continued progress in reducing cancer mortality, as well as deaths from many other serious diseases, will require more comprehensive tobacco control, including targeted cessation support,” Siegel and colleagues concluded. – by Casey Hower
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.