An investigation by a team of epidemiologists from the American Cancer Society has provided a sobering look into who, exactly, is dying of cancer because of their addiction to cigarettes.
Published Monday, the paper provided a state-by-state breakdown of smoking-related cancer deaths in the U.S., an analysis that highlighted both the influence of Big Tobacco and societal health disparities.
All told, cigarette smoking was directly responsible for nearly 30 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S. in 2014, killing just over 167,000 men and women. And that number is low, researchers said, since they only looked at 12 cancers (there are more tied to tobacco use) and didn’t fold in cancer deaths caused by secondhand smoke, pipes, cigars, smokeless tobacco or nicotine products like e-cigs. Cancers examined included acute myeloid leukemia as well as cancers of the lung, liver, pancreas, colon, esophagus and six other body sites.
Men were much more likely to die than women, researchers found, particularly those from Southern states where people tend to smoke more, have less education and anti-smoking policies and programs are weaker thanks to Big Tobacco’s influence (95 percent of the U.S. tobacco crop is grown in the South).