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Press Release

For Immediate Release: December 1, 2000
Contact: CDC Media Relations (404) 639-3286

Public health and tobacco control efforts lead to decrease in lung and bronchus cancer rates in California

Public health efforts, including a comprehensive tobacco control program, have resulted in a decline in lung and bronchus cancer rates in California, according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with the California Department of Health Services. Incidence rates of lung and bronchus cancer among California women declined, while rates increased among women in other U.S. regions. Rates for men declined more rapidly in California than in other U.S. regions.

The study compares data from California and eight selected regions (states: Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, New Mexico, and Utah; and metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Detroit, and Seattle-Puget Sound). The study findings show that lung and bronchus cancer incidence rates in California decreased by 14 percent (from 71.9 per 100,000 in 1988 to 60.1 per 100,000 in 1997), while other selected and combined U.S. regions declined by only 2.7 percent (from 67.7 per 100,000 in 1988 to 64.7 per 100,000 in 1997). From 1988 to 1997, lung and bronchus incidence rates for males in California (98.8 per 100,000 in 1988 to 74.9 per 100,000 in 1997) was 1.5 times larger than the decline in males (100.5 per 100,000 in 1988 to 84.9 per 100,000 in 1997) in other selected and combined U.S. regions. Among women in California, the lung and bronchus incidence rates decreased by 4.8 percent (52.6 per 100,000 in 1988 to 49.1 per 100,000 in 1997), while there was a 13.2 percent increase (44.5 per 100,000 in 1988 to 50.1 per 100,000 in 1997) in other selected and combined U.S. regions.

"Since the late 1980s, smoking rates have been declining in California. Although the decreases in smoking prevalence are not a conclusion of this study, it appears they have accelerated following California's implementation of a comprehensive prevention and education program," said Dr. Satcher. "This is a positive indicator of what can be accomplished if states fully implement all evidence-based approaches recommended in the recently published Surgeon General's report on Reducing Tobacco Use."

California and a growing number of states (Massachusetts in 1992, Arizona in 1994, Oregon in 1996, and Maine in 1998), have implemented statewide comprehensive tobacco control programs, which resulted in declines in per capita cigarette consumption and has reduced smoking prevalence rates among adults or teens.

"This study sends a clear message that an effective tobacco control program not only can reduce and prevent tobacco use, but, may reduce lung and bronchus cancers and other health consequences attributed to tobacco use," said CDC Director Jeffrey P. Koplan. "Because cigarette smoking is responsible for most lung cancers, we must take serious steps to fully implement science-based approaches that can nearly eradicate the level of lung cancer incidences in our nation."

The new study, -Declines in Lung Cancer Rates - California, 1988 to 1997", was released in the December 1 issue of CDC's -Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report -(MMWR). To obtain a copy of the study, visit this CDC website at or call 770-488-5705 (press 2 for publications).

For more information about California's tobacco prevention program, please visit

CDC protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.


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