Anti-smoking ads credited for cancer drop

October 4, 2006

An American Cancer Society study has credited anti-smoking campaigns with reducing the number of annual cancer deaths in the United States.

The Atlanta-based society said in the study, published in the October issue of Tobacco Control, that if smoking rates had not declined in the past 50 years, there would be no drop in cancer rates, USA Today reported Wednesday.

The study said cancer rates dropped 16 percent for men between 1991 and 2003, declining from 279 deaths per 100,000 to 234 per 100,000. Researchers estimated decreases in smoking rates among men are responsible for about 40 percent of the decline.

However, no decline has been recorded in women. The researchers say that is because smoking rates for women began their decline more recently than among men. The death rate for lung cancer among women rose nearly 10 percent from 1991 to 2003.

Michael Thun, a co-author of the report, said overall cancer rates may drop in the next few years due to millions of young people who never started smoking because of the anti-smoking campaigns.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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