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Lynne Eldridge MD

Why Anti-Smoking Campaigns Aren't Enough to Eliminate Lung Cancer Deaths

By November 29, 2012

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As Lung Cancer Awareness Month draws to a close I'm glowing from hearing about all of the events - and how each year there are more and more advocates investing their precious time and energy to spread awareness and provide funding for lung cancer research. But amidst that glow is a sadness. It seems just when I get excited about a new organization or another medical institution promoting awareness, I read the second line. "The key to reducing lung cancer deaths is to launch more anti-smoking campaigns."


Yes, those campaigns are important. But if we want to reduce lung cancer deaths, anti-smoking campaigns just aren't going to do it. Or even come close.

I'm sure many of you are saying, what in the world is she talking about?

A statistic may help.

Nearly 80% of people diagnosed with lung cancer now, in 2012, are non-smokers. All of the anti-smoking campaigns imaginable are not going to make a difference for this 80%.

Maybe a few numbers will make it even clearer. In 2008, the last year from which we have numbers available, there were 158,592 deaths from lung cancer in the United States, including 70,051 deaths in women. (Note that in the same year, there were 40,589 breast cancer deaths in women.) Using the 80% statistic, 126,874 of these deaths could not have been prevented by anti-smoking campaigns.

So why are we focusing on anti-smoking campaigns? Why are we focusing our attention on only 20% of people who develop lung cancer? Don't get me wrong. This group of 20% who are current smokers deserve our love and attention just as much. But what about the other 80%?

Since one of my pet peeves is listening to people rant who don't have a solution in mind, I'll offer a few.

Perhaps we should be focusing more attention on other known causes of lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause and is totally preventable. Checking for radon in your home doesn't even take willpower. Occupational exposures need more attention as well.

And we need to focus more energy on treatment research. Even if we focus our efforts on the 20% with smoking cessation programs, many of those people will still develop lung cancer due to their history of smoking in the past.

To do this we need funding. To get funding, lung cancer needs to recognized. Even the ribbon - the color pearl - is largely invisible.

What can you do?

For starters, hug someone with lung cancer. Love them without asking them if they smoked.

And consider getting in touch with one of the lung cancer organizations and becoming an advocate. Here are a few links to get you thinking:

If I've missed your organization add it to the comments here, or send me an email so I can add it to the list.

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this year's Lung Cancer Awareness Month more visible. Blessings to all of you.

Photo: istockphoto.com


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Breast Cancer Statistics. Updated 04/30/12. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/statistics/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lung Cancer Statistics. Updated 04/30/12. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/lung/statistics/index.htm

November 29, 2012 at 1:25 am
(1) cheryl says:

thank you about your comment… Hug someone who has lung cancer, love them without asking if they smoked. It is a horrible, embarrassing cancer to have and to know that you have caused it :( I have a possible lung cancer(matastisis) , may be related to a very rare adrenal primary cancer and sick as it may sound I would rather have the matastisis then say I have lung cancer. Because I am a smoker (long term), really did not know in those days how horrible is was for your health until later and I was already “hooked”. Even with the rare cancer I have, I feel very judged when people say “well I’m sure THIS will make you quite! I know I need to quite! But not everything that happens medically is caused by by smoking. There are al kind of treatment programs for people who are addicted to illegal drugs, that help them, but nothing compares to the stigma if you are a smoker. So thank you for the hug… love a terrified smoker who is praying it is a matastasis from a primary adrenal cancer patient.

November 29, 2012 at 7:42 am
(2) Ann Tackett says:

Thank you for your articles. Our 27 yo non-smoking daughter (Allison Tackett) just died this past week in Athens, Ga. She was diagnosed with Stg 4 initially — NO symptoms of any kind before she had a routine chest X-ray. I would love to see Free To Breathe on your list, even though I believe it’s affiliated with the national lung partnership, it would help get the name out there for local opportunities. Our daughter was able to help raise a good bit of money after her diagnosis and death: a terrible statistic of 1 year and one day. Please continue these informative columns and how we can help others with what’s believed to be causes.

November 29, 2012 at 8:20 am
(3) Kristi says:

Thank you for a very well written article addressing a tremendously important issue in our nation. Your resources are great and your suggestions to move advocacy forward are wonderful. Thanks for voicing!!

November 29, 2012 at 8:20 am
(4) harleyrider1978 says:

Lung Cancer a Different Disease in Smokers and Nonsmokers

PHILADELPHIA — Lung cancer that develops in smokers is not the same disease as lung cancer that develops in people who’ve never touched a cigarette, a new study finds.

There are nearly twice as many DNA changes in the tumors of people who have never smoked than in the tumors of people who smoke, which suggests the cancer of “never-smokers” is different from smokers’ cancer, said Kelsie Thu, a Ph.D. candidate at the BC Cancer Research Center in Canada.

“We think this finding provides evidence that never-smoker and smoker lung cancers are different, and suggests they arise through different molecular pathways,” Thu told MyHealthNewsDaily. “Never-smokers might be exposed to a carcinogen, not from cigarettes, that causes their tumors to have more DNA alterations and promotes lung cancer development.”


November 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm
(5) Joe Gaeta says:

EXCELLENT article! Certainly, money and effort needs to be put into prevention; but, in my opinion, the vast majority of money, time, and effort needs to be devoted to finding treatments and CURES. Regardless of the disease.

I am president of The Joan Gaeta Lung Cancer Fund in Atlanta, GA. We are an affiliate of The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation.

If you are a Georgia resident, you can help the cause by getting a Lung Cancer Awareness Specialty License Plate – the only one of it’s kind in the United States! Learn more at http://www.LungCancerLicensePlate.org.

November 29, 2012 at 2:54 pm
(6) Dave Copeland says:

So, lets get this straight. About 20% of the population are smokers. So…hypothetically…If smoking DIDN’T cause lung cancer, then 20% of people diagnosed with lung cancer would be smokers? If your figures are true, they suggest no correlation between smoking and lung cancer, yes?…or am I missing something here?

November 29, 2012 at 3:16 pm
(7) Dave Copeland says:

Lets get this straight. If their was, hypothetically, NO LINK between smoking and lung cancer, and roughly 20% of the population were smokers, you’d expect, roughly, 20% of people diagnosed with lung cancer to be smokers, yes? This article, in a roundabout way, is saying that smoking is not a lung cancer risk…or am I missing something?

November 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm
(8) lungcancer says:

What the article says is that 20% of people diagnosed with lung cancer CURRENTLY smoke. The majority of people diagnosed smoked at one time, but quit before they were diagnosed. For example, for every 100 women diagnosed with lung cancer, 20 currently smoke, 20 have never smoked, and 60 are FORMER smokers. I hope that makes it a bit clearer. Yes, smoking causes most cases of lung cancer. But smoking cessation programs aren’t going to help those who have already quit — the majority of people diagnosed.

November 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm
(9) lungcancer says:

Sorry if this was a bit confusing. 80 to 90% of people who develop lung cancer did smoke at one time (80% in women, and somewhat higher than that in men.) But at the time of diagnosis the majority of people who once smoked have already quit — sometimes in the distant past.

November 29, 2012 at 10:11 pm
(10) Klaus K. says:

I read another explanation to this in a 1977 scientific article about lung cancer in different industry workplaces, among them the asbestos industry:

“As the proportions of deaths from cancer among smoking and non-smoking asbestos workers are the same, there is something peculiar about the excess death due to lung cancer among smoking asbestos workers.

We suggest the obvious interpretation that the diagnosing physician knowing of the smoking habits of an asbestos worker, will diagnose a primary lung cancer if the worker smokes, but will make a more thorough examination as to the source of cancer when the asbestos worker does not smoke.

Also, because the conviction is so strong that smoking is the cause of lung eancer, non-smoking asbestos workers may be diagnosed as having primary cancer from some site other than the lung, in line with prevailing opinions.”


November 30, 2012 at 1:28 am
(11) Lee says:

So are you saying that smoking cessation programs are useless? Although you say that 60% of ex smokers developed lung cancer, do you have any figures on the number of ex smokers who did not develop cancer, or better yet, the number of potential smokers that did not start smoking because of the information provided through a smoking cessation program?
Smoking is a risk factor for all cancers, not just lung cancer. It’s extremely shortsighted and irresponsible for any organization or medical professional to NOT discuss the connection between smoking and cancer. Additionally, those non smokers could be effected by secondhand smoke, which also causes lung cancer.
Smoking is a risk factor that can be reduced by a change in behavior. Simple as that.

November 30, 2012 at 8:24 am
(12) Epiphany says:

What is clear from the comments here is that the denormalization and demonization of both smokers and smoking has been successful. It has created a society of raging prohibitionists who refuse to relinquish their zealotry for anti-smoking, even if it was discovered today that smoking was not responsible for disease of any kind. It has given the world a convenient group to focus their hatred on. One poster ignores the fact that causes other than smoking can lead to cancer: radon, asbestos, diesel fuel, etc. and raves that if it was not smoking, then it surely must have been secondhand smoke. Too bad that these people will never question the science behind the research. Perhaps if we could, there might be a movement afoot to uncover a cure. That will never happen as long as the zealots who populate anti-smoker groups continue to receive hundreds of millions of dollars to continue their hate campaign.

November 30, 2012 at 8:44 am
(13) liz says:

Exactly. And why these zealots have to troll and hate is beyond my understanding. 1 in 14 will be diagnosed with lung cancer, it just hasn’t hit close enough to them …YET.

November 30, 2012 at 10:22 am
(14) Lee says:

I was with my father in law from the day he was diagnosed with lung cancer until the day he died from the disease. I have also lost a dear uncle to lung cancer. My grandfather died from a heart attack. All died because they smoked. I do not hate smokers. In fact, it is my love for people who smoke that drives my desire to see them quit. Losing people you love to a disease that is behavior based is devastating.

Smoking is a behavior that can be changed. I do not feel that people with lung cancer brought it on themselves even if they smoked, because the truth is, there are many causes for lung cancer that aren’t behavior related. Recent studies have shown that lung cancer can be genetic. Should that person blame their parents for the gene? Absolutely not. But to ignore the risk factor of smoking is completely irresponsible.

Sure, not all people who get lung cancer smoke, and not all people that smoke get lung cancer. The same way that not all people in car accidents are texting or drunk, and not all people who text or drink while driving get in accidents. It doesn’t mean that safe behaviors shouldn’t be encouraged. It has nothing to do with stigma, it has everything to do with trying to save those you love.

November 30, 2012 at 11:02 am
(15) Dave Copeland says:

Lee…you say that you’ve had deaths in your family and that ‘All died because they smoked’. Smoking has NEVER been proven to cause lung cancer, it increases risk, as does many other things. http://www.data-yard.net/10c/siepmann.htm
Even an autopsy CANNOT show that smoking caused lung cancer. This is the crux of the matter, and this is where propaganda and mis-information comes into play.Your family may have smoked, and they may have got lung cancer, but that lung cancer may have been brought on by something entirely unrelated, but, invariably will be attributed to smoking. This is how statistics are manipulated beyond all proportion.

November 30, 2012 at 11:35 am
(16) Kevin says:

Public health officials are being encouraged to believe that politics and not our faith in science and ingenuity, will prove effective in place of actual cures. In 1960 54% of the population smoked an established fact for many years, however 54% of the total population includes close to 25% of the population who were to young to smoke. Meaning the prevalence figure was closer to 65% of the adult population. Defined as “smokers” then and now. Following this age group into their 60s we can expect, if smoking affects 20% of the population today and 90% of lung cancers occur beyond the age of 65 that, by inclusion in the group alone 50% more smokers than non smokers would be expected to be affected by so called “smoking related diseases”, With smoking having zero effect [60% -70% of those beyond 65 today are included as "ever smokers" ] . If smoking does increase your risks of lung cancer by 20% [NOT 85%], the 85% figure is exactly where we would expect it to be BY GROUP PROPORTIONS. The 80-90% thrown out there to torture people, who smoked and experience lung cancer, serves only as a final message to them before they die. Its your own fault!!! This is a disgusting piece of dirty work, that should bring shame not to smokers but to their tormentors, that parallels 1930s mindsets, by our “professionals” who should and probably do know better.

November 30, 2012 at 11:53 am
(17) Kevin says:

If we took half of what is being expended by the medical communities to sell, smoking patches and invested it in non political, “scientific research” cancer would already be history today as a cause of death. “Treatments” [snake oil] that few in the medical community will admit, are causing harm, among those that really want to quit. Preferred “medical treatments” that fail more than 95% of the time, in direct comparison to quitting without them, which is successful 36% of the time. Perhaps the financial corruptions of so called charities and lobby group charity foundations, could actually be defined as the largest preventable cause of death. If we didn’t already know that 1.5 million a year are harmed by [medical mistakes] the self same drug companies, selling the “alternatives”, through tax exempted charity foundations. Tax exempted ad agencies, masquerading as Charity foundations, who invested close to a billion dollars a year through the past decade, purchasing medical opinions [prostitution]. To a point that it is now considered bad manners to discus cancers, without mentioning the ["overreaching"] stated effects of smoking.

November 30, 2012 at 12:13 pm
(18) Lee says:

Dave…breathing increases your risk of lung cancer, and living increases your risk of dying. I’ve heard all of those comments and find them extremely irresponsible. There isn’t a way to avoid a multitude of illnesses, I get that, but I still wash my hands before I eat, I teach my kids to cover their mouth when they cough and sneeze, and we eat our fruits and vegetables. There is a level of responsibility that we all need to take to care for ourselves and for the people we love.

If we follow your line of thinking, what is the point of a diabetic watching what they eat, or a pregnant woman refraining from drinking alcohol? Why would anyone who is obese even consider putting in the effort to lose weight? Diabetics still die, there are babies are born with disabilities anyway, and I’ve never heard of anyone dying from excess weight. Is that your logic?
Participating in risky behaviors increases your risk of getting a disease or dying from a disease. Not participating in risky behaviors reduces your risk…it doesn’t eliminate the disease.

I also understand that nonsmokers feel that there is a stigma associated with lung cancer. They don’t, however, own that stigma alone. Have you ever met someone with skin cancer? People ask if they used sunscreen. Have you ever met someone with diabetes? People assume it’s because of a poor diet. Pancreatitis must be because someone is a drinker. And the list goes on.

I’m simply saying that there is an importance in public awareness for smoking cessation. There are NO health benefits to smoking. I do not understand why anyone, smokers or nonsmokers, healthy or sick, would not support smoking cessation programs.

November 30, 2012 at 1:38 pm
(19) Junican says:

Why do you worry so about what other people do voluntarily? If certain environmental factors cause lung cancer, then by all means shout about it. But when adults voluntarily engage in a risky practice, that is their business and not yours.
That is where Public Health has gone fundamentally wrong. Rather than find out what risks there are in the general environment and changing the environment, they are concentrating on bullying people who are happy to take chances.
And….No. Second Hand smoke is not particularly harmful.
And…No. Smokers do not cost society more than non-smokers.

As the article says, the effect of smoking has been something of a red herring. Smoking has gone down and down, but lung cancer is increasing.

November 30, 2012 at 3:34 pm
(20) Lee says:

Secondhand smoke is an environmental factor that increases the risk of illness for everyone. It’s sad that we live in a society where people don’t understand how we are all connected and that the voluntary risks that people take effect everyone. The person who drives without his seatbelt isn’t harming anyone until he gets in an accident and is thrown from a vehicle. Then his decision effects the people around him. His family, friends, coworkers, and the bystanders. We have a responsibility to each other to make sure we are informed and make the best possible decisions.
Smoking is an environmental hazard that increases the risk of cancer and other diseases. There is no possible way to contain cigarette smoke so that it only effects the smoker. It is absolutely a public health issue.

November 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm
(21) Dave Copeland says:

Lee, I understand your concerns about second hand smoke. However, you’ve probably heard only one side of the story.
Me?…I prefer to trust the scientists rather than the tobacco control fed media. http://tctactics.org/index.php/Critical_Scientists

November 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm
(22) Kevin says:

Lee enlightenment is something you achieve personally, not something you should impose on others or they you.

In answer to your puzzlement, common sense should be a reaction to statistical studies with a described objective prior to the gathering of data. Not science or fact, just statistical associations which could be suggested with numbers referencing any number of topics or activities.
Is it acceptable, to force people to make health decisions, in compliance with coercions, by scaring their neighbors?

Case in Point the 2006 Surgeon General’s report; by selecting favorable research studies and ignoring the largest studies [with the largest accuracy potential] which did not correspond to what was being sold many small studies were joined by meta analysis to for an opinion that tobacco smoke could produce a risk as high as .12 which was reported in the media quite erroneously as a 12 percent increase. Providing the statement “there is no safe level of tobacco smoke” which is, was and will always be a political lie.


November 30, 2012 at 5:13 pm
(23) Kevin says:

…12% increased risk was claimed, when in fact it was .12 over 1 in 10,000 which happens to be the traditional level of “acceptable risk” if we saw a full 1 as an increase, meaning 2 in 10,000 we might have the beginnings of a place where people need to start to pay attention, this research is rarely taken seriously without a full 3 or more as the result. With [.12] 12 potential mortalities per million among those “at risk”, the numbers are not normally worthy of mention and any epidemiologist worth his salt, would be embarrassed to even state that any effect of importance had been found.

When I say at risk the prerequisite in this case would be those most exposed at maximum duration ["erring on the side of safety" is what they said] meaning exposures in a bar or bingo hall where measured particulate matter originating from cigarette smoke alone [above baseline particulate, in ambient air] would be beyond 250 UG/ cubic meter of air, with a sustained exposure through a working lifetime of 40 years or more.

Now to estimate your personal risk we have to look responsibly at the levels and durations we see through a lifetime as the norm, which would be reduced by 1000 times in both concentrations and duration. So your risk by respecting either factor, takes your actual risks by second hand tobacco smoke, somewhere below 1.2 mortalities per billion people exposed. Since the entire population of the USA is only a third, or what it would take to produce a single death, 40 years from now. You can feel pretty comfortable sitting with a smoker while he smokes in your company. As sir Doll once stated much to the chagrin of the lobbies who were trying to invent something much more.


November 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm
(24) Kevin says:

Sure if you want to push the issue you could demand that even at that level you find the smoke unacceptable risk, however in order to be consistent and non hypocritical, you would have to raise the bar of acceptable risk by a thousand times to one million times, among all of the industries and individuals who also breach that line, in a duty of care. Are you really accepting of selective safety as a hypocrite behind smoking bans while you are not willing to abide by an equal duty of care you should provide to others? Don’t volunteer to quickly because the same people who sold smoking bans, the still legal drug cartels, will soon have us all eating artificial sweeteners over our genetically modified greens, if stubborn uncompromising attitudes, grown from ignorance, cult like myths, and divisions from your neighbors, can be nurtured, a little bit more. As they planned the current sales strategy a nickle and dime at a time and as they are already selling flu and fat pandemics or alcohol disasters..

Be careful what you wish for because it all has a cost.

November 30, 2012 at 5:36 pm
(25) Dave Copeland says:

Lee….”I do not understand why anyone, smokers or nonsmokers, healthy or sick, would not support smoking cessation programs.”

The tobacco control industry is TOTALLY corrupt from top to bottom.
Besides the tobacco companies, their is another player in the nicotine market…Big Pharmaceutical Companies. Big Pharma gives MASSIVE funding to anti-tobacco organisations for one purpose. To try and force smokers to quit, and go on to smoking cessation programs. These SCP’s will invariably put ‘would be quitters’ onto nicotine replacement therapy (patchygummythingys) which, for Big Pharma, is a multi-billion dollar business.
What they don’t tell you, is that NRT, over a years course, has a 98.4% FAILURE rate, which, incidentally, is a poorer rate than going ‘cold turkey’. IT IS NOT ABOUT HEALTH. If it was, they would be promoting smokeless tobacco products like snus and electronic cigarettes. Yet the health lobbys are, disgustingly, trying to ban these healthier, more successful alternatives. You have to ask yourself why? The answer is clear…there is no profit for their Big Pharma paymasters. If the likes of ASH don’t get people to quit, their funding will dry up and they’ll be joining the dole queue.

This is why I’m against these corrupt smoking cessation organisations, and everything they stand for. Hope this answers your question.

November 30, 2012 at 11:19 pm
(26) Klaus K. says:

Does stopping smoking cause lung cancer? Statistics certainly suggest so.


December 2, 2012 at 4:20 pm
(27) Cole Durkee says:

According to the CDC, “In the United States, cigarette smoking causes about 90% of lung cancers.”


How could your stats differ so widely from the Center of Disease Control stats? Can you provide a reference source for your claim that – “Nearly 80% of people diagnosed with lung cancer now, in 2012, are non-smokers.”?

December 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm
(28) Cole Durkee says:

Lee, I understand your concerns about second hand smoke. However, you’ve probably heard only one side of the story.
Me?…I prefer to trust the scientists rather than the tobacco control fed media.

Before you believe any disguised anti-tobacco comments, here’s the “real” Tobacco Tactics link – http://tobaccotactics.org/index.php/Main_Page

December 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm
(29) Gary K. says:

CDC says that 20% of lung cancer deaths are current smokers, 61% are ex-smokers, and 19% are never-smokers.

19% + 61% = 80% of lung cancer deaths are non-smokers.

Quit-Smoking groups say that 15 years after quitting, the ex-smokers risk of lung cancer is the same as a never-smoker.

The vast majority of ex-smokers have quit for more than 15 years and their once having smoked will have nothing to so with their getting lung cancer.

About 26% of lung cancer deaths are possibly associated with smoking.

December 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm
(30) John Hill says:

Dr. Eldridge, first I want to thank you for all the hard work you have done for us lung cancer survivors. I am a 13 year survivor if 3A NSCLC and was privileged to have been a friend of Lori Hope. We miss her deeply but it is so nice to see you carrying the message for us. I lnow she spoke very highly of you and your work but also of your friendship.
Again thank you,

December 5, 2012 at 9:15 am
(31) bimmerman says:

From the CRUK website: “Around 86% of lung cancer deaths in the UK are caused by tobacco smoking and, in addition, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) states that tobacco smoking can also cause cancers of the following sites: upper aero-digestive tract (oral cavity, nasal cavity, nasal sinuses, pharynx, larynx and oesophagus), pancreas, stomach, liver, bladder, kidney, cervix, bowel, ovary (mucinous) and myeloid leukaemia. 6,7″

6. Peto, R., et al., Mortality from smoking in developed countries 1950-2005 (or later). March 2012.
7. Secretan, B., A review of human carcinogens–Part E: tobacco, areca nut, alcohol, coal smoke, and salted fish. Lancet Oncol,2009. 10(11): p. 1033-4

Personally, if I want accurate information, I tend to stear clear of biased, pressure group websites. If tobacco is as benign a substance as the tobacco denialists would have us believe, then why would governments deny themselves so much tax revenue by restricting access and opportunity to consume. This is the same kind of wooly thinking that the AGW-denialists use.

December 5, 2012 at 10:36 pm
(32) Klaus K says:

Ever since 1950 smoking has been used as scapegoat for other causes of lung cancer: Air pollution, diesel exhaust, radiation and pollution from industry workplaces are some of them.

This is known but how, and why smoking? Because when smoking got blamed for lung cancer the disease was established as the patient’s own responsibility. In that way the states, the big polluting industries and the insurance companies got off the hook.

Since Nixon’s “war on cancer” in 1971 they have used the cancer charities (ACS & NCI) to maintain this situation – i.e. the “fact” the smoking causes 90% of lung cancer cases. That is the root of the mismatch of lung cancer cases we find today.


January 7, 2013 at 8:03 am
(33) harleyrider1978 says:

Chaouachi, Kamal

Tobacco researcher specializing in medical anthropology. Holder of a post-graduate diploma in Tobacco Science from the University of Paris (1998). Taught hookah science to French doctors (University of Paris XI–XII, 2006–2010). Scientific collaborator of various research centres in Asia, Africa and Europe. Paris, France

– Since prohibitionists are not capable of producing quality evidence, they rely on quantity so that each new “study” can contain sentences like “There is an accumulation of evidence that” environment[al] tobacco smoke kills, etc.… and the not less classical ending call for funding: “More research is needed.”

– Besides, they have themselves set the criteria for considering acceptable “evidence”. For instance, who controls the so­ called evidence published in WHO reports? The WHO Tobacco Study Group (TobReg) experts of course. Who are those experts? The same who are to be found in the editorial boards and peer­ reviewers lists of numerous journals supposed to provide the evidence at the grass­root level. This is a vicious circle, a global trick, a global hold up of science.

April 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm
(34) Anne says:

I am a lung cancer advocate who has a family history of lung cancer. I believe that we should not stigmatize those diagnosed with this disease. However, the research demonstrates that second hand smoke harms and also kills those of us in its path including causing lung cancer.

Although it is correct to say approximately 80% of individuals with lung cancer do not smoke, a good percentage of that 80% did smoke at one time.

As a long time advocate for people diagnosed with lung cancer, I’ve found that some smokers with lung cancer tend to be very vocal about smoking not causing lung cancer. After burying 4 of my family members, I say “hooey.”

May 22, 2013 at 5:17 pm
(35) harperpolling.com says:

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November 5, 2013 at 2:08 pm
(36) gene says:

>>Nearly 80% of people diagnosed with lung cancer now, in 2012, are non-smokers. … Using the 80% statistic, 126,874 of these deaths could not have been prevented by anti-smoking campaigns.

This statistic you misrepresented exists because so many people diagnosed are EX-SMOKERS. The fact is, 80-90% of people diagnosed with lung cancer HAVE smoked or DO smoke.

And yes, these diagnoses could have been prevented by anti-smoking campaigns.

To pretend that 80% non-smoker rate means something ELSE besides tobacco is a major factor in today’s lung cancer rate is nuts–and despicable.

November 5, 2013 at 2:35 pm
(37) gene says:

I should add that the only people truly stigmatized by this statistic are those who work for the tobacco industry, ie, people who, in the face of such a massive, horrendous toll of pain and grief, continue to market and sell an addictive, deadly drug to kids all over the world.

November 5, 2013 at 5:01 pm
(38) lungcancer says:

Gene – I understand your reasoning. Anti-smoking campaigns IN THE PAST could have prevented many of these deaths. But the majority of people diagnosed now have quit. Instead of concentrating on anti-smoking we need to be looking at ways to help those who have smoked and quit reduce their risk (or have early detection.) We also need to look for other causes as 20% of women who develop lung cancer are never smokers. In 2013 39,000 women are expected to die from breast cancer, and 21,000 from radon-induced lung cancer. Should we not be giving radon some of the attention instead of smoking alone?

December 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm
(39) gene says:

OK, the past is past, and smoking rates as a percentage of population is way down, but _numerically_, present smoking rates are STILL very close to what they were in the 60s–just under 50 million. And lung cancer still is killing c. 160,000 people a year.

Of course radon is an issue. As are wood burning stoves in rural areas.
And public health people do look at these issues, as well as the impact of secondhand smoke.

But there are other issues here. Radon doesn’t cause COPD or heart disease. And there’s no Radon Institute to perenially dispute scientific findings on radon and prevent action in Congress.

Understandably, before tackling relatively isolated hot spots, public health chooses to address the entire horrendous conflagration, the 460,000 deaths a year due to tobacco related diseases, 460,000 families devastated, heartbroken and many times. left destitute.

Tobacco control also works to prevent CURRENT rates of youth addiciton and industry marketing tactics to kids.

The impact of smoking on health is not just lung cancer. Anti-smoking campaigns aren’t _just_ about lung cancer.

What’s so hard to get?

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January 19, 2014 at 10:38 pm
(42) target promo code discount coupons says:

An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think that you should publish more on this issue, it may not be a taboo matter but typically folks don’t discuss these topics.
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March 12, 2014 at 6:18 pm
(43) jane says:

In a 2006 European study, the risk of developing lung cancer was:

0.2% for men who never smoked (0.4% for women)
5.5% for male former smokers (2.6% in women)
15.9% for current male smokers (9.5% for women)
24.4% for male “heavy smokers” defined as smoking more than 5 cigarettes per day (18.5% for women)

May 15, 2014 at 1:52 pm
(44) Ian says:

You have the numbers backward, the reason there are anti-smoking campaigns is because 87% of lung cancers are linked to smoking.

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