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4 in 10 cancer deaths due to smoking in parts of South

​And, at least 20% were due to smoking in 147 out of 152 urban areas evaluated across U.S.

A new ACS study led by Farhad Islami, MD, PhD, (pictured here) and his colleagues measures the toll of cigarette smoking in urban areas, and finds that the South and Appalachia bear the biggest burden. 

The authors note that strong tobacco control policies nationwide could avert smoking-related deaths.

The study, appearing Jan. 26, 2021 in Cancer Causes & Control, finds that 4 in 10 cancer deaths are attributable to cigarette smoking in parts of the South region and Appalachia. 

In both sexes combined, the proportion of smoking-related cancer deaths ranged from 8.8% in Logan (Utah-Idaho) to 35.7% in Lexington-Fayette (Kentucky). Despite this wide variation, at least 20% of all cancer deaths were attributable to cigarette smoking in 147 out of 152 evaluated metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas (MMSAs).  

Data show the proportion of cancer deaths attributable to cigarette smoking was greater in men than in women in all evaluated MMSAs.

Our researchers examined the proportion of cancer deaths from 2013 to 2017 attributed to cigarette smoking in 152 MMSAs. (A metropolitan area is defined as a region that consists of a city of at least 50,000 people and surrounding communities that are linked by social and economic factors. A micropolitan area is defined as an urban area with a population of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000.) 

Data indicate the variations in total cigarette tax rates and other tobacco control initiatives are likely to have contributed to variations in smoking-related cancer deaths. For example, the high total excise tax in New York City ($1.50 per pack in addition to the New York state tax of $4.35 per pack) may have contributed to the lower proportion of smoking-related cancer deaths in New York-Jersey City-White Plains metropolitan division compared to other evaluated MMSAs in New York state and the Northeast region.  

“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,” said Farhad. 

The authors conclude: “Broad and equitable implementation and enforcement of proven tobacco control intervention at all government levels could avert many cancer deaths across the United States.”

Article: Islami F, Bandi P, Sahar L, Ma J, Drope J, Jemal A. Cancer deaths attributable to cigarette smoking in 152 U.S. metropolitan or micropolitan statistical areas, 2013-2017. Cancer Causes & Control, 2021. doi: 10.10007/s10552-020-01385-y. 


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