A recent U.S. study found that cigarette use may be the primary cause that triggered half of deaths in a dozen of smoking-elated cancers. Researchers also found that not all smokers died from lung, bronchus or trachea cancer. Half of them died from oral cavity tumors, bladder and esophagus cancers.
Researchers found in all these cases a direct link between cigarette use and death from cancer, too.
Rebecca Siegel, lead author of the study and researcher at American Cancer Society in Atlanta, told reporters that figures showed that there was much work to do against the “tobacco epidemic” in the U.S.
During their research, scientists analyzed more than 345,000 cancer deaths in Northern America of adults 35 or older. About 167,800 of those deaths were directly linked to smoking. Researchers reached those results by following a simple formula to calculate the portion of cancer cases that would not have happened if patients weren’t smoking.
The team found that 125,799 deaths linked to lung, trachea and bronchus cancers were caused by smoking. Those cancers account for 80 percent of cancer deaths in the U.S., researchers explained. About half of deaths from esophagus cancer and 45 percent of deaths from bladder tumors were also directly associated with smoking.
But scientists also found that 17 percent of deaths caused by kidney cancers, 20 percent of deaths triggered by stomach tumors, 22 percent of deaths associated with cervical cancer, and 24 percent deaths from liver cancer were linked to cigarette use.
Nevertheless, researchers acknowledged that their study had some limitations since participants were less ethnically diverse and more educated than the rest of the U.S. population.
The study was published this week in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
Additionally, there’s a fair chance that study authors have overlooked an important fraction of cancer deaths tied to second-hand smoking (which is estimated at an additional 5 percent of lung cancer deaths) and use of smokeless tobacco, cigars and other tobacco products.
The team noted that the use of non-traditional tobacco products is on the rise at least in the U.S. For instance the use of such products doubled between 2000 and 2011. Also, e-cigarettes are far more popular than cigarettes among high-school students.
Dr. Michael Ong cautioned that there was no scientific evidence to back the idea that the use of alternative tobacco products could help smokers quit or stay away from cigarettes. He said that alternatives only reduced the cases of lung cancer deaths caused by cigarette use, but lung cancer deaths continue to be attributable to smoking.
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