A new study has found that cigarette smoking is responsible for at least 345,962 cancer deaths in the U.S. annually.
The study was reported on Monday in the Journal of JAMA Internal Medicine.
About 45% of those deaths are the result of cancer of the lung, bronchus and trachea. Another 15% of the deaths are attributed to colorectal cancer, 11% are due to pancreatic cancers and 6% are due to liver cancers.
Researchers have found that 12 types of cancer can be caused by smoking. When all these cancers are pooled together, nearly half of all deaths- 48.5% - can be blamed on cigarette smoking.
Lung cancer has the strongest link to smoking. Researchers estimate that 83% of lung cancer deaths in men and 76% of lung cancer deaths in women are a result of smoking.
Smoking additionally has a huge role in cancers of the larynx. 93% of larynx cancer deaths and 72% of larynx cancers deaths in men are attributed to cigarette smoking.
In order to determine this data, researcher combined data from the 2011 National Health Interview Survey, the Cancer Prevention Study II and five studies that are known as the Pooled Contemporary Cohort. The people included in the analysis were at least 35 years old and they were more educated and less racially diverse than Americans as a whole.
This analysis does not include any other forms of tobacco use, such as cigars and pipes. It also does not account for exposure to second-hand smoke, which is believed to be responsible for about 5% of lung cancer deaths.
Regardless of these limitations, researchers concluded that “continued progress in reducing cancer mortality, as well as deaths from many other serious diseases, will require more comprehensive tobacco control.”