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A study has shown that about 30% of all cancer deaths in the United States in 2019 are directly associated with smoking cigarettes, which is responsible for a stunning 123,000 deaths and $21 billion in lost earnings.
In certain states with relaxed tobacco laws, their findings were especially damning, implying that tobacco control works to help to reduce deaths and that lowering the amount who smoke should be the focus in national healthcare.
Dr. Farhad Islami, the senior director of cancer research through the American Cancer Society and lead researcher of the study, in a statement, said, “This study helps further evidence that smoking is still the leading cause of cancer-related deaths and it has a massive impact on the U.S. economy.”
“We must continue to help people to quit smoking, preventing individuals from starting, and work with all levels of government for equitable and broad implementation of tobacco control interventions.”
This study was published in Cancer Epidemiology.
Using the data from those in the US who had died from smoking-related cancer aged 25-80 in 2019, the scientists combined all of the deaths to figure out the total Person-Years of Lost Life (PYLL) and amount of income lost because of these deaths. Perplexing variables, like socioeconomic status, were controlled by using education-specific data.
A massive two million PYLL resulted from smoking-related cancers, including liver, throat, and lung. Again, midwestern and Southern states were the highest lost earnings, as Missouri was the highest with almost $15 million.
Still, the scientists hope that further measures in the states with relaxed smoking laws may help fix this issue.
“Raising the price of smokes through excise taxes is the most effective way to reduce smoking,” Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, a Senior Study Author, explained in a statement.
“In many states, their tobacco excise tax rate is still very low, mainly in the states with the highest smoking rates.”