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State-Specific Trends in Lung Cancer Incidence and Smoking—United States, 1999–2008

September 16, 2011 / Vol. 60 / No. 36

MMWR Introduction

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and the most commonly diagnosed cancer that affects both men and women. Most deaths from lung cancer are caused by cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. Large variations in lung cancer, smoking behavior, and tobacco control programs and policies have been observed among states. Effective tobacco control programs reduce smoking prevalence and can lead to decreases in lung cancer.

From 1999 to 2008, decreases in lung cancer incidence were observed among men in 35 states and among women in six states. The lowest rates and most rapid rates of decline in lung cancer were concentrated in the West, correlating with low smoking prevalence and high ratios of former smokers to ever smokers. Further reductions in smoking prevalence are critical to continuing the decline in lung cancer.

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