Tobacco control efforts are having a major impact on Americans health, according to an analysis of lung cancer data by the CDC.
The rate of new lung cancer cases decreased among men and women in the U.S. from 2005 to 2009, according to the report, published in the Jan. 10 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The study also found that lung cancer incidence rates went down 2.6% per year among men, from 87 to 78 cases per 100,000 men, and 1.1% per year among women, from 57 to 54 cases per 100,000 women.
The fastest drop was among adults ages 35 to 44, decreasing 6.5% per year among men and 5.8% per year among women. Lung cancer incidence rates decreased more rapidly among men than among women in all age groups. Among adults ages 35 to 44, men had slightly lower rates of lung cancer incidence than women.
These dramatic declines in the number of young adults with lung cancer show that tobacco prevention and control programs work when they are applied, CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said in a news release.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the No. 2 most commonly diagnosed cancer among both men and women in the U.S. Most lung cancers are attributable to cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke. Because smoking behaviors among women now are similar to those among men, women are experiencing the same risk of lung cancer as men.
While it is encouraging that lung cancer incidence rates are dropping in the United States, one preventable cancer is one too many, Frieden said. Implementation of tobacco control strategies is needed to reduce smoking prevalence and the lung cancer it causes among men and women.
In 2010, states appropriated only 2.4% of their tobacco revenues for tobacco control. An earlier CDC study showed that states vary widely in their success at reducing smoking, and in reducing new lung cancers.
Study methodology and results
In the new report, the CDC used data from the National Program of Cancer Registries and the National Cancer Institutes Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program for 200509 to assess lung cancer incidence rates and trends among men and women by age group.
Lung cancer incidence decreased among men in all U.S. Census regions and 23 states, and decreased among women in the South and West and seven states. Rates were stable in all other states. These declines reflect the successes of past tobacco prevention and control efforts, according to the CDC.
Continued attention to local, state and national population-based tobacco prevention and control strategies are needed to achieve further reductions in smoking prevalence among both men and women of all ages to reduce subsequent lung cancer in the U.S., according to the CDC. Strategies proven to reduce tobacco use among youth and adults include increased tobacco prices, comprehensive smoke-free laws, restriction of tobacco advertising and promotion, and hard-hitting mass media and community engagement campaigns.