The number of Americans who smoke has dropped to a record low, but 40 per cent of cancer cases in the country are still linked to tobacco use, a US government report has found.
A report released this week by the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that each year between 2009 and 2013, about 660,000 people in the US were diagnosed with, and about 343,000 people died from a cancer related to tobacco use, Xinhua news agency reported.
The agency noted that smoking does not just cause lung cancer. It can also cause cancers of the mouth and throat, voice box, oesophagus, stomach, kidney, pancreas, liver, bladder, cervix, colon and rectum, as well as a type of blood cancer called acute myeloid leukemia.
“There are currently more than 36 million smokers in the US,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said during a news briefing on Saturday.
“Sadly, about half of them will die from tobacco-related disease, if they don’t quit. This includes six million who will die from cancer unless we implement programs that will help them quit.”
That means “tobacco continues to cause too many health problems and too many deaths,” he said, highlighting “a persistent and preventable health threat” in this country.
However, progress has been made, said the CDC. Since 1990, about 1.3 million tobacco-related cancer deaths in the US have been avoided.
Another report released on November 10 by the CDC showed that current cigarette smoking among US adults declined from 20.9 per cent or 45.1 million people in 2005, to 15.1 per cent, or 36.5 million in 2015.
During 2014-2015 alone, there was a 1.7 percentage point decline, resulting in the lowest prevalence of adult cigarette smoking since the CDC began collecting such data in 1965.