Lung Cancer Deaths 28% Lower in California Than Rest of US

map of USA
map of USA
In individuals aged 18 to 35, California has had larger drops in smoking initiation, intensity, and higher rates of quitting.

HealthDay News — Annual lung cancer mortality was 28 percent lower in California than in the rest of the United States in 2013, according to a study published online Oct. 10 in Cancer Prevention Research.

John P. Pierce, Ph.D., from the Moores UC San Diego Cancer Center, and colleagues examined trends in smoking behavior in California and the United States using data from the 1974 to 2014 national Health Interview Surveys (962,174 individuals). Lung cancer mortality data were obtained from the national Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program.

The researchers found that California had much larger declines than the rest of the United States in smoking initiation and intensity and increased quitting among those aged 18 to 35 years. 

Among this age group, only 18.6 percent had ever smoked in 2012 to 2014; smokers consumed only 6.3 cigarettes/day, and 45.7 percent of ever-smokers had quit by age 35 years. Compared with the rest of the United States, each of these metrics was at least 24 percent better. Among seniors, there was no marked California effect on quitting or intensity. Annual lung cancer mortality decreased more rapidly in California from 1986 to 2013 and was 28 percent lower by 2013 compared with the rest of the United States (62.6 versus 87.5 per 100,000).

“While quitting smoking has increased across the country, this does not explain why the decline in lung cancer has been so much faster in California,” Pierce said in a press release. “This can only be attributed to the success of tobacco control in this state which has been so effective in convincing young people not to smoke.”

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