It may be common knowledge that smoking cigarettes leads to a host of diseases and early death, but did you know that 30% of all cancer deaths are smoking-related? This is according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. [1]

Smoking is the biggest preventable cause of death from cancer and other diseases, yet 40 million people continue to puff away on cigarettes, according to U.S. researchers from the American Cancer Society (ACS).

The ACS calculated the percentage of cancer deaths among Americans 35 years of age and older due to cigarette smoking in 2014, state by state.

The percentage of smoking-related deaths for men ranged geographically, from about 22% in Utah to nearly 40% in Arkansas. The percentage was at least 30% in every state but Utah.

The percentage was considerably lower for women – at least 20% in all states except Utah, California, and Hawaii. Women in Utah were found to have the fewest smoking-related deaths (11%), and Kentucky women had the most (29%).

Although men are more likely to smoke than women, researchers believe their chromosomes may play a role in their higher cancer death rate. Recent studies have shown that smoking reduces the number of Y chromosomes in blood cells, which help contain tumors.

However, in states like South Dakota, Montana, and Arkansas, researchers found there were more female than male smokers.

In the South, nearly 40% of cancer deaths are linked to smoking. That’s likely because of the region’s lenient laws concerning smoking policies and relatively flimsy tobacco control programs, not to mention the cheaper cost of cigarettes. [1], [2]

The authors of the study warn that their estimates are probably low. In the study, they only considered 12 types of cancer, and the researchers did not include other types of tobacco use, such as hookah, cigars, or e-cigarettes. The team also did not include second-hand smoke in their analysis. [1]

The researchers wrote:

“Increasing tobacco control funding, implementing innovative new strategies, and strengthening tobacco control policies and programs, federally and in all states and localities, might further increase smoking cessation, decrease initiation.” [2]

Read: Quit Smoking Tips that Go Beyond the Patch, Pill, or Phone Support

The types of cancer covered by the study include:

  • bladder
  • cervix
  • colon
  • rectum
  • esophagus
  • kidney
  • ureter
  • larynx
  • leukemia
  • liver
  • oropharynx
  • pancreas
  • stomach
  • trachea
  • bronchus [2]

The states with the highest estimated proportion of smoking-related cancer deaths in men were:

  • Arkansas
  • Tennessee
  • Louisiana
  • Kentucky
  • West Virginia [3]

Sources:

[1] Time

[2] Tech Times

[3] CBS News


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Post written byJulie Fidler:
Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.