ATLANTA, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Lung cancer rates in men dropped in 35 states and in six states in women from 1999 to 2008, U.S. health officials say.
The study, published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, says after increasing for years, lung cancer rates among women decreased nationwide from 2006 to 2008 -- but rates decreased among women only in California, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Washington from 1999 to 2008.
The decrease in lung cancer cases corresponds closely with smoking patterns across the nation -- in the West, where smoking prevalence is lower among men and women than in other regions, lung cancer incidence is decreasing faster. Cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke cause most U.S. lung cancer deaths, the study says.
"Although lung cancer among men and women has decreased over the past few years," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC, says in a statement, "too many people continue to get sick and die from lung cancers, most of which are caused by smoking. The more we invest in proven tobacco control efforts, the fewer people will die from lung cancer."
Frieden says states that make greater investments in effective tobacco control strategies -- including higher tobacco prices, hard-hitting media campaigns, 100 percent smoke-free policies and easily accessible quitting treatments and services for those who want to quit -- experience larger reductions in smoking.