Proportions of Cancer Deaths Attributable to Cigarette Smoking in Women

Stellman, Steven D.; Garfinkel, Lawrence

Over two-thirds of a million American women mostly over age 45 were enrolled in a prospective mortality study in 1982 and followed up for four years. In this time period 1,527 women died of six smoking-related cancer sites: oral cavity, esophagus, pancreas, larynx, lung, and bladder. Age-adjusted death rates in nonsmokers were used to obtain smoking-attributable risks and numbers of deaths due to these six cancers. Among current smokers, 601 deaths (85.5% of current smokers' deaths) were attributable to cigarette smoking, and among former smokers 284 (69.3% of ex-smokers' deaths) were attributable to smoking. Cigarette smoking accounted for 885 excess deaths at these sites, giving a population-attributable risk of 57.9%. Over three-quarters of these excess deaths were due to lung cancer. Cigarette smoking, despite increases in smoking cessation, is still responsible for well over half of the deaths from these six types of cancer in women.


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October 7, 2014