Falling tobacco use key to cancer decline says report

In collaboration with the Press Association

Cancer Research UK has welcomed a report identifying the decline in smoking as the key issue behind falling cancer deaths among men in the US.

The charity added that a similar decline in smoking is almost certainly behind a corresponding fall in cancer mortality in the UK.

The research, conducted by the American Cancer Society, found that around 40 per cent of the reduction in cancer deaths could be directly linked to tighter controls on tobacco.

Overall US smoking rates fell by half between the mid-1960s and mid 1990s, correlating to the peak in age-adjusted cancer deaths in 1991.

Between 1991 and 2003, the cancer mortality rates fell 16.1 per cent among men and 8.4 per cent among women.

Lucy Morrish, Statistical Information Manager at Cancer Research UK said:

"We welcome the news that smoking cessation in the US is having such an impact on American cancer mortality.

"Given that smoking rates have also fallen significantly in the UK, its highly likely that this is one of the main things driving the downward trend in cancer mortality rates in the UK.

"These results further highlight what a huge impact smoking has on health. In 2007, after lobbying from Cancer Research UK and others, the UK government will introduce smokefree legislation.

"We hope that this will enable more people to give up, and help keep UK cancer rates on a downward trajectory."

The report was written by the American Cancer Society and published as an editorial in the journal Tobacco Control.