Smoking Might Be Even More Dangerous Than You Think

Smoking was behind almost half of deaths from 12 types of cancer

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) There are countless reasons to quit smoking. And new data may add 12 more reasons to the list.

A new study found that smoking caused almost half of the deaths from 12 cancers, including lung and liver cancer, in 2011.

The authors of this study used data on smoking prevalence and other health risks to see how many deaths could be attributed to cigarettes.

“Cigarette smoking continues to cause numerous deaths from multiple cancers despite half a century of decreasing prevalence,” wrote the study authors, led by Rebecca L. Siegel, MPH, of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta.

The percentage of people who smoke has fallen in the past decade, Siegel and team noted. However, about 18.1 percent of the population still smokes.

Siegel and team studied 345,962 deaths from 12 types of cancer. The 12 cancers were colorectum; esophagus; kidney and renal pelvis; larynx; liver and bile duct; lung, bronchus and trachea; leukemia; oral cavity and pharynx; pancreas; stomach; bladder; and cervix.

They found that for 167,805 of those deaths, or 48.5 percent, cigarettes were to blame.

The danger of smoking was highlighted in particular with cancers of the lung, bronchus and trachea. Cigarettes appeared to be behind about 80 percent of those deaths.

Larynx cancer also had a high percentage of smoking-related deaths, followed by oral, esophagus and urinary bladder cancer.

Also, secondhand smoke “is estimated to cause an additional 5 percent of lung cancer deaths,” Siegel and team wrote.

These researchers suggested that support for tobacco cessation programs and tobacco control may reduce smoking-related cancers.

This study was published June 15 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The American Cancer Society funded this research. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
June 12, 2015
Last Updated:
June 18, 2015