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Smoking restrictions causing fall in lung cancer rates across United States: research

WASHINGTON -- Lung cancer rates in the United States are falling as a direct result of efforts to control smoking and other tobacco use, according to research published on Thursday.

The decline affects both men and women, said data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported in the organization's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The study found lung cancer incidence rates went down 2.6 percent per year among men, from 87 to 78 cases per 100,000 men and 1.1 percent per year among women, from 57 to 54 cases per 100,000 women.

The analysis was conducted between 2005 and 2009 and it showed that the fastest decline was among adults aged 35-44, falling 6.5 percent per year among men and 5.8 percent annually among women.

Lung cancer incidence rates decreased more rapidly among men than among women in all age groups, said the report, but similar present day levels of smoking between men and women mean women are now just as much at risk as men of developing the disease.

“These dramatic declines in the number of young adults with lung cancer show that tobacco prevention control programs work — when they are applied,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among both men and women in the United States.

Most lung cancers are attributable to cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke, but the report said that in 2010 U.S. states devoted only 2.4 percent of their revenues from tobacco sales to pursuing tobacco control measures.

“While it is encouraging that lung cancer incidence rates are dropping in the United States, one preventable cancer is one too many,” Dr. Frieden said.

“Implementation of tobacco control strategies is needed to reduce smoking prevalence and the lung cancer it causes among men and women.”

The CDC used data from the National Program of Cancer Registries and the National Cancer Institutes Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results program for the period 2005-2009 to assess lung cancer rates.

January marks the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General's Report linking cigarette smoking to lung cancer.

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. Millions of Americans are living with a smoking-related disease, and each day more than 2,100 youth and young adults become daily smokers, according to the CDC.

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