Smoking Causes Nearly 30% of Cancer Deaths in the U.S.

According to a new estimate, smoking was responsible for about 123,000 cancer deaths in the United States in 2019 – or nearly 30% of all cancer fatalities.

This translates to over $21 billion in lost annual income and more than 2 million person-years of wasted life.

According to the lead author, Farhad Islami, MD, senior scientific director of cancer disparity research at the American Cancer Society, “smoking has significantly decreased in the United States over the past few decades, followed by significant declines in mortality from lung cancer and some other smoking-related cancers.”

Although there has been “amazing progress,” he adds, “our data show that smoking is still connected with roughly 30% of all cancer deaths and large lost earnings in the U.S., and that additional work should be done to further reduce smoking in the country.”

The International Journal of Cancer published the study’s online version on August 10.

According to research by Islami and colleagues, the lost wages as a result of cancer deaths in 2015 were close to $95 billion. Other research revealed that smoking cigarettes contributed significantly to lost wages due to cancer deaths, but these estimates were more than ten years old.

Islami and colleagues calculated lost earnings from cancer-related smoking-related person-years of life lost (PYLL) and lost wages in 2019 to provide more contemporary estimates and assist in guiding tobacco control policy.

An estimated 122,951 of the 418,563 cancer-related deaths of persons between the ages of 25 and 79 may be related to smoking cigarettes. That translates to over 2.2 million PYLL and 29.4% of all cancer-related deaths. The scientists calculated a total of $20.9 billion in lost earnings, with an average lost income of $170,000 per cancer mortality associated with smoking.

According to cancer type, lung cancer accounted for almost 62%, or $12.9 billion, of the total lost wages associated with smoking. Lung cancer was followed by esophageal cancer (7%), colorectal cancer (6%), and liver cancer (5%), which each cost $1.5 billion.

The 13 “tobacco nation” states with laxer tobacco control laws and higher cigarette smoking rates had the greatest incidence of smoking-related fatalities. Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia are among these states.

Comparing the 13 tobacco nation states to all other states and the District of Columbia combined, the lost earnings rate was around 44% higher, and the yearly PYLL rate was 47% higher.

According to the researchers, more than half of the nation’s PYLL and lost earnings would have been prevented if all states had PYLL and lost earnings rates as low as Utah’s, which has the lowest rates. In other words, that would entail saving $10.5 billion and 1.27 million PYLL in 2019.

The “Scourge of Tobacco” must be ended

Health professionals should “screen patients for tobacco use, document tobacco use status, encourage persons who smoke to quit, and assist in attempts to quit,” according to Islami, in order to help patients kick the habit.

It’s also crucial to increase the number of Americans who obtain lung cancer screenings, as only 6.6% of those who were eligible did so in 2019.

The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network’s president, Lisa Lacasse, stated in a statement that this data “further illustrates just how crucial reducing tobacco use is to preventing misery and death from cancer.”

Local, state, and federal officials must adopt effective tobacco control measures, according to her, to halt the “scourge of tobacco.”

These include consistent and sizeable tobacco price increases, comprehensive statewide smoke-free regulations, and adequate support for governmental initiatives to discourage and end smoking. It also entails making certain that all Medicaid beneficiaries have access to all programmes and drugs that have been approved by the FDA to assist people in quitting smoking.

We simply need lawmakers to take action, Lacasse added, adding that we have the means to complete this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *