Smoking Causes Lung Cancer graphic cigarette warning front of packSmoking Causes Lung Cancer graphic cigarette warning back of pack
Front of Cigarette Pack
(representation only)
Back of Cigarette Pack
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Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer.1 As a result, lung cancer is the most preventable form of cancer death.2

In Australia, smoking causes 84% of new lung cancers in men and 77% in women.3

In Australia, the most common cancer causing death in males is lung cancer and it is the second most common in females. In 2001, there were 8,275 deaths from lung cancer (4,657 male and 2,382 female). This represents nearly 20% of all cancer deaths for that year.3

The age at which a person starts smoking has an impact on their risk of developing lung cancer. The younger the age that a person begins smoking, the higher the later risk of developing lung cancer. 4,5

The longer a person smokes and the more cigarettes they smoke, the greater their risk of developing lung cancer. 4,5,6

There is also evidence that smokers with other lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), have a greater risk of developing lung cancer.5

Smoking low-tar cigarettes does not reduce your risk of developing lung cancer.1

Your risk of developing lung cancer drops by up to 50% ten years after you quit smoking.1

Quitting at any age will help, however the largest reduction in risk occurs in those who quit the earliest.5

Second hand smoke can cause lung cancer for non-smokers. Non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work have an increased risk of developing lung cancer of 20-30%.7,8

Decided to quit? For help, talk to your doctor or pharmacist, call the Quitline on 131 848 or visit the Quitline web site.

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Sources
  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: what it means to you. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/sgr_2004/index.htm
  2. American Cancer Society, Tobacco-Related Cancers Fact Sheet. www.cancer.org/docroot/PRO/content/PRO_1_1x_Lung_Cancer.pdf.asp?sitearea=PRO downloaded 31 May 2006. (This website link was valid at the time of submission)
  3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) & Australasian Association of Cancer Registries (AACR) 2004. Cancer in Australia 2001. AIHW cat. No. CAN 23. Canberra: AIHW (Cancer Series no. 28). www.aihw.gov.au/publications/index.cfm/title/10083
  4. American Council on Science and Health. Cigarettes: What the warning label doesn’t tell you. Second edition. New York, American Council on Science and Health, 2003.
  5. The Australian Lung Foundation, 2005. Case statement: Lung cancer. Update for 2006. (This website link was valid at the time of submission)
  6. American Cancer Society, Lung cancer fact sheet. (www.cancer.org/docroot/PRO/content/PRO_1_1x_Lung_Cancer.pdf.asp?sitearea=PRO downloaded 9 December 2006). (This website link was valid at the time of submission)
  7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The health consequences of involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke: a report of the Surgeon General – executive summary. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Coordinating Centre for Health Promotion, National Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2006. www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/secondhandsmoke/report/
  8. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Stat bite: Causes of lung cancer in nonsmokers, Vol. 98, No. 10, May 17, 2006. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/98/10/664-a

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