No really, put down that cigarette. New research attributes 4 in 10 cancer deaths in the Southern US and Appalachia to cigarette smoking, a statistic alarmingly high considering the number of decades we have known how harmful smoking is to human health. The study, published in Cancer Causes & Control, looks at data from 152 metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas between the years 2013-2017.
The findings show a distinction in cancer deaths attributable to cigarette smoking between sexes, with men experiencing higher proportions of cancer deaths than in women in all of the evaluated regions. Nevertheless, gender aside, at least 20% of all cancer deaths were attributable to cigarette smoking in 147 out of 152 evaluated areas. The South and Appalachia showed the highest proportions.
Led by Dr. Farhad Islami, MD, Ph.D., and collaborators from the American Cancer Society, the study also considers variations in cigarette tax rates and other tobacco control initiatives. The team found, for instance, that regions with high total excise taxes, like those seen in New York City, consequently have a lower proportion of smoking-related cancer deaths.
"This information is important to inform and help evaluate state and local-level tobacco control policies such as state, city- or county-level tobacco taxes and smoke-free air laws, investments in tobacco prevention and increasing access to smoking cessation resources," explains Dr. Islami. "Broad and equitable implementation and enforcement of proven tobacco control intervention at all government levels could avert many cancer deaths across the United States," the authors conclude.