A new study has shown that cigarette smoking can cause 12 different types of cancer. When all of these cancers are pooled together, cigarette smoking becomes the cause of nearly half of all the deaths in the United States each year.
The study, which was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that roughly 45 percent of deaths related to cigarette smoking are the result of cancers of the lung, bronchus and trachea. An additional 15 percent of deaths are due to colorectal cancer, 11 percent due to pancreatic cancers and 6 percent due to liver cancers — all of which account for at least 345,962 cancer deaths each year.
According to the LA Times, lung cancer has the strongest link to smoking. Researchers estimate that 76 percent of lung cancer deaths in women and 83 percent of lung cancer deaths in men are the result of smoking. It also is a major cause of larynx cancer; 93 percent in women and 72 percent in men.
Esophageal cancer comes in at 51 percent, mouth and throat cancer at 47 percent and bladder cancer comes in with 45 percent of the deaths linked to smoking. The next tier includes liver cancers, which account for 24 percent, of which uterine and cervical cancers account for 22 percent and stomach cancers 20 percent.
The lowest percentage of deaths related to smoking are from kidney cancer (17 percent), myeloid leukemia (15 percent), pancreatic cancer (12 percent) and colorectal cancer (10 percent of deaths linked to smoking).
The figures were constructed through the combination of data from the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center with data from National Health Interview Survey, the Cancer Prevention Study II and five studies that are known as the Pooled Contemporary Cohort. The participants included in the analysis were at least 35 years old, more educated and less racially diverse than America as a whole.
The study does not cover other forms of tobacco use, such as pipes and cigars, nor does it account for exposure to second-hand smoke, which is believed to be responsible for about 5 percent of lung cancer deaths. However, even with these limitations, the researchers have concluded that more comprehensive tobacco control will be required as they wrote:
Continued progress in reducing cancer mortality, as well as deaths from many other serious diseases, will require more comprehensive tobacco control.
The study does offer some encouraging news – nearly 70 percent of Americans who smoke wish they didn’t and 50 percent have tried to kick the habit in the previous year, according to surveys conducted by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A researcher with the American Cancer Society and an author of the recently published study, Rebecca L. Siegel, noted that smoking prevalence went down from 23.3 percent in 2000 to 18.1 percent in 2012, Healthline reported. She also insists that death from smoking is 100 percent preventable, yet problem persists.
Although we’ve had 50 years of reductions in smoking prevalence, still, 170,000 cancer deaths were caused by smoking in 2011.
Siegel also notes that efforts need to be focused on “populations with higher smoking rates” in order to reduce the numbers. As an example, 29 percent of poor people smoke, whereas only 16 percent of the wealthy groups do. Around 25 percent of homosexual people smoke, whereas only 18 percent of straight people do.
The study used data gathered in 2011 and was published on May 15, 2015.