A new rigorous analysis funded by the National Cancer Institute is published this month in the JNCI. Moolgavkar and colleagues (see report) now estimate that over 790,000 lung cancer deaths have been avoided by cessation from cigarette smoking since the 1964 Surgeon General's first Report on Smoking and Health was released. This represents only a fraction of all deaths that can be avoided by more comprehensive implementation of what we know works for tobacco control.
A detailed report from the CDC estimates that each year cigarette smoking and exposure to second hand smoke cause over 400,000 or 1 in 5 deaths. See Tobacco Control State Highlights 2010 for a detailed break down by state. This report highlights how substantial the range of implementation of effective and proven programs is, even within the US, where policies and practice vary enormously from one state to the next.
Implementing programs that we know work can reduce the burden of not just lung cancer, but many other chronic diseases which drive up costs of health care in this country. To see how much risk is reduced for individuals who stop smoking, go to our web site Your Disease Risk. More details are also provided in our Prevention Snapshot accessed through the tab above.