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Causes, Smoking: Lung cancer epidemic

Description:
This section covers the smoking epidemic in the U.S. and the 163,000 Americans that die each year from lung cancer, which is greater than deaths caused by prostate, breast, colon, and pancrease cancers combined.
Transcript:
Lung Cancer Epidemic About 163,000 Americans die each year from lung cancer. This is greater than deaths caused by the next four cancers combined. [Chart: Estimated US Cancer Deaths, 2005] Learn how cigarette smoking became a 20th century phenomenon. Click on the graph to highlight four periods when cigarette consumption showed great increases. [Graph: Tobacco Use in the US, 1900-2000] What was going on at each of these times? Roll over each period for an answer. 1914-1919 World War I The US entered World War I in 1917. The War Department bought much of the nation’s cigarette output and included cigarettes in soldiers’ rations. 1920-1929 Roaring 20s Many soldiers returned home from WWI with a cigarette habit. This combined with prosperity and social liberation to fuel a rapid growth in smoking. 1939-1945 World War II The soldier’s daily food ration contained three 4-packs of cigarettes. 1950-1953 Korean War Cigarettes, in short supply in North Korea, were an element of psychological warfare. One propaganda leaflet was printed on cigarette paper, with patterns for rolling individual cigarettes. North Korean defectors were promised “plenty of ready-made cigarettes.” Now click on the periods when smoking declined. What was going on at each of these times? Roll over each period for an answer. 1930-1937 During the Great Depression people had less to spend on cigarettes. 1953-1959 After the Korean War, smoking fell back to nearly pre-war levels. 1964 First Surgeon General’s report definitively links smoking to lung cancer. 1969 Cigarette advertising banned from radio and television. Now let’s take a look at male deaths from lung cancer. Comparing the two graphs, approximately how many years do cancer deaths lag behind increases in cigarette consumption? ~20 years Now let’s add in the death rate for women. Roll over the female death rate for facts. Female smokers are about three times more likely to develop lung cancer as male smokers. Non-smoking women are also more likely to develop lung cancer than men. Estrogen may play a role in encouraging the growth of lung cancer cells. Phillip Dennis, M.D., Ph.D., National Naval Medical Center: “The Tobacco epidemic is really responsible for 30% of all cancer deaths. The incidence of lung cancer in men in the U.S. has fallen since the Surgeon General's report first came out in 1964. The incidence of lung cancer in women has now plateaued and should be on its way down, if it follows the patterns of men. But for many years the incidence in women was increasing as the incidence in men was falling.”
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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