Smoking Down, Lung Cancer Up

Over on Forces, Søren Højbjerg writes:

In 1950, the first substantial post war antismoking statistics were published. They marked the starting point of a great stampede against smoking. Until now that stampede has lasted 60 years. Although it is showing signs of decay, it has not yet run out of steam.

The pretext for the antismoking stampede was, that by ‘eliminating’ smoking, lung cancer would be ‘eliminated’. While smoking has certainly lost some of its former popularity in the ‘western’ world, lung cancer remains on the rise. In the United States, cigarette sales topped in 1981, with 636 billion cigarettes. While cigarette consumption has almost dropped to half of this figure, the same cannot be said of lung cancer. Lung cancer does not seem to mind whether people smoke or not.

Once a year the American Cancer Association publishes estimates of cancer figures. The 2010 estimates were released recently. Lets have a look at them here:  Cancer Facts and Figures 2010.

I went and looked and found a list of reports running from 2005 to 2010. In 2005 there were 172,570 new cases of cancer of lung and bronchus in both sexes. In 2006 there were 174,470 new cases. In 2007 there were 213,380. In 2008 215,020. In 2009 219,440. And in 2010 222,520. The numbers were rising steadily, year by year.

Of course, that’s only over 6 years. But what was US lung cancer incidence back in 1950? I couldn’t find figures for US lung cancer incidence (maybe somebody can point me to the right place), but according to one report,

In 1950 there were 18,318 deaths from lung cancer in the United States

Since there’s only a 10 – 15% survival rate for lung cancer, that suggests that 1950 lung cancer incidence was about 20,000 in both sexes. And what that means is that over 60 years the incidence of lung cancer in the USA has risen tenfold.

However, US population has doubled over the same period from 152 million in 1950 to 308 million in 2010. So the per capita incidence of lung cancer has risen fivefold over the period. And still is rising.

So what was US smoking prevalence over the same period? According to P N Lee Statistics (web edition), US male cigarette smoking prevalence was actually steadily falling throughout this entire period.

The US male prevalence of use of all tobacco products was slightly higher, falling from about 70% in 1947 to 30% in 2005.

A quick look at UK smoker prevalence (on the same site) produced figures that went back even further. These weren’t all shown on the accompanying chart, and so I’ve extended the chart back to show figures for 1928 and 1938 (pink area):

This shows a similar falling prevalence of male smoking, but over a period almost 20 years longer, and from a higher level (88% in 1928, 89% in 1938). This suggests that the 98% male prevalence of smoking in the Doll and Hill 1950 London Hospitals study (commenced in 1948) may not have been at all unusual, particularly in a large city in the immediate aftermath of WW2. It also suggests that the 87% male prevalence of smokers in the Doll and Hill British Doctors study (commenced in 1951) was not unusual either.

I don’t have any figures for UK lung cancer incidence over the period, but I believe it follows much the same pattern as the USA. CRUK provides a graph of lung cancer incidence, which they say shows male lung cancer falling from 1975 to 2005. But their actual graph appears to say exactly the opposite.

If anything, these extra figures seem to make Højbjerg’s case even stronger. In both the USA and the UK male smoking prevalence was steadily falling while lung cancer incidence was steadily rising. There doesn’t seem to be any correlation whatsoever between smoking and lung cancer. There isn’t even a ’30 year delay’.

Last word to Højbjerg:

The antismoking stampede will come to a halt one day. That day is getting ever closer. Currently, one of two factors is slanted to end it.

One factor is contraband tobacco. Cigarette smuggling has reached enormous proportions in certain areas. Contraband rates of 50 % on cigarettes and 70 % on rolling tobacco are not unusual. This will make the ‘war on drugs’ look like a sunday school picnic. It has the potential to bring to the masses’ attention that nothing useful has come out of the antismoking stampede.

The other factor is the uninterrepted rise in the number of lung cancer cases. It cannot continue unnoticed forever, that smoking cessation is not making a dent in the rise of lung cancer. At some point lung cancer will catch up with the antismoking stampede.

About Frank Davis

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58 Responses to Smoking Down, Lung Cancer Up

  1. Leg-iron says:

    There is a component of tobacco smoke that has the potential to cause lung cancer. But it’s not nicotine.

    That component is present in all burning plant material. Oil is fossilised plant material.

    We are, as a population, smoking less but using much more oil. Lung cancer is increasing as we burn more fossil fuels, while the incidence of burning little tubes of paper containing a bit of dried leaf (which can’t put out anywhere near as much burned material as even a Prius) is declining.

    I accept that there are chemicals in tobacco smoke that could cause lung cancer. But those same chemicals are present in burned oil. In the street, which has the greater effect?

    • Frank Davis says:

      I think there are several components of tobacco smoke which are classed as (mildly) carcinogenic e.g. benzapyrene. But as you say, they are also present in the combustion products of burned oil/gasoline, and in much larger quantities. They are present in the combustion products of all burned plant material, including wood and coal smoke (and also marijuana smoke).

      There was a time, as Dr Ian Dunbar pointed out in his contribution to the CATCH debate here back in December, when humans lived in huts that were full of wood smoke all the time (in winter at least), and yet humans seem not to have suffered unduly from lung cancer.

      This (and the fact that people in the Western world have been smoking tobacco for 4 or 5 centuries) makes me doubt that either smoking or smoke of any sort are the true cause of lung cancer. I think we have to look around for some other cause to explain the cancer epidemic of the past century. One suggestion has been the persistent radioactive materials which only began to be introduced into human society since 1900 (the Fallout Hypothesis). Another possibility is that of the Human Papilloma Virus which is now believed to be the principal cause of cervical cancer, and has been found present in a variety of other cancers, including lung cancer.

      One day, we will find out.

      • Llarian says:

        Hello Frank, when humans lived in huts warmed by wood fires, the average life expectancy was about 35 years. Most cancers develop after the age of 60. Also, they simply did not have the diagnostic tools or even a name for the disease. Cancer was lumped in with half a dozen other diseases, including tuberculosis, as “consumption”.
        The cancer epidemic of the past century or so is mostly due to us not getting killed by infections at a young age, thanks to modern plumbing.

  2. Mike F says:

    Re U. S. lung cancer incidence in 1950. How about age adjusted death rates per 100,000, 1950 to 1990?:

    The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) website has a ton of (reliable?) statistics.

    Mike F.

  3. C777 says:

    I suspect that the increase may be down to the increase in Asthma amongst western populace due to the fact that many people live in an environment that is too sterile.
    A little bit of dirt is good for you it would seem.
    Remember the soil in your vegetables ?
    There is a strong link between lung cancer and Asthma.
    Just a hunch, would need to do more studying on that one.


  4. SteveL says:

    Just as I suspected. Enstrom&Kabbut did a study of the Amish who do not drink or smoke! and lead a pretty basic and down to earth lifestyle. Guess what? They have the same life span as any other American.
    The only Americans who live longer than the average by 10 years are the mormons, even the ones who drink and smoke live 8 years longer!The only thing they do outside the norm is not over eat and to fast one day a month .

  5. Mike F says:

    More on 1950 and subsequent U. S. lung cancer deaths.

    See the 1982 Surgeon General’s report ( ) for a lengthy discussion starting on page 21.

    Assume it is (or should be) common knowledge that lung cancer “caused” by smoking includes metastasized cancer. “International Classification of Diseases” code 162 – the doctor signing the death certificate believes that cancer originated in the lung (i.e., is primary). Code 163 – the doctor isn’t sure – it could be primary lung cancer but could also be metastasized. Of all lung cancer deaths, I believe the codes are roughly split 50 / 50. Tobacco “science” always lumps the two together. Logically, however, the amount of lung cancer “caused” by smoking has to be overstated by some unknown amount (i.e., cancer metastasized from elsewhere in the body – which would – naturally! – also be “caused” by smoking).

    Assume it is (or should be) common knowledge that death certificates are highly inaccurate.

  6. Rose says:

    Here’s where it seems that it started in England.


    “Those who were caught outside in the fog found their skin and clothing caked with filthy particles. Buses inched their way through the murk, their drivers navigating by hanging out of their cab windows, their windscreens blacked out by a film of slime. By Friday night, the number of respiratory cases admitted to hospital had doubled. But the gloom made the work of the ambulance service all but impossible.

    At the Smithfield Show at Earls Court, where the fog had seeped into the prize cattle’s quarters, many animals were taken sick, just as they had in the great fog of 1873. Thirteen had to be destroyed, and autopsies later showed that the animals had suffered from severe inflammation of the airways in their lungs.”

    “The fog did not lift until 10 December. The government’s interim report on the episode showed that there had been some 12,000 deaths as a result of the severe conditions. Then the ‘spin doctors’ of the day moved in. A cut-off date of 20 December was imposed, and at a stroke, the death toll was slashed to 4,000 in the final report issued nearly a year after the event.”

    In their desperation to hide the climbing death rate the government invented a flu epidemic, they tried to say that it was only the elderly affected and later that the deaths were due to weakened lungs from smoking, but none of this was true.

    The government had insisted that all the clean coal must be sent for export and the Londoners were burning dirty, sulphurous coal, which combined with the industrial smoke and traffic fumes which, due to the inversion were clogging the streets, there was no escape even inside.

    “He says a shortage of coffins and high sales of flowers were the first indications that many people were being killed”

    “Maureen Scholes, a nurse at the Royal London Hospital at the time, recalls being unable to see from one end of the ward to the other because of the pollution.
    “You couldn’t see along the corridor that you walked in when you came on duty.
    “You couldn’t see actually from one end of the ward to the other and it’s not that enormous a length.”

    The government grabbed Doll’s original study and had it amended to remove all reference to air pollution.

    Testimony of Dr Hueper 1957
    “They manipulated the evidence. Anyone who introduces a corrective factor in his calculations to make the evidence fit a preconceived idea, I do not feel that this is valid scientific evidence.

    “Do you feel, in view of what you said, that the application of a corrective factor means a predetermined manipulation in this case?

    A.In this case I could not say, no.

    Q I want to get clear on that.You asked me to read on. I will do that. This appears on Page 435 of your May, 1957 article and reads;

    “However, even this estimate is heavily biased by the arbitrary assumption that the benzpyrene content present allegedly in cigarette smoke was about 12 times as effective in eliciting cancers as benzpyrene demonstrated in atmospheric air.
    Only when such a “corrective” coefficient is applied was it possible to obtain proportional correlations between the total exposure to benzpyrene from both cigarette smoking and air pollutants and the relative incidence rates of lung cancer found in the industrialized metropolitan Liverpool area, an intermediary urban-rural region, and the rural area of North Wales”

    A That is right.

    Q That was your statement.

    A I would like to have that on the record too.

    Q All right. It is in Doctor”

    Scientist Comments on Benzpirene Report [Discounts the Role of Benzpyrene] – 1957

  7. Keep up the good work!

    That’s what I call the scientific method, look at actual facts and figures and, if in doubt, say the opposite of what everybody else says, you are more likely to stumble on the truth that way than going along with all the propaganda.

  8. Rose says:

    The worse the air pollution, the more they smoke.

    But it’s not the only close correlation , in England at least.

    “Highest level of tea consumption in the UK was reached in 1957 when 255 million kg were retained for domestic use. In that year, the per capita consumption of tea rose to 4.51 kg, and only 5% of her imports were re-exported.
    Her total imports have declined over the years, with a marked decrease in domestic consumption.”

    “Black teas, including regular and decaffeinated brands, had nicotine contents ranging from non-detectable to greater than 100 ng/g wet weight. Instant teas yielded the highest nicotine contents observed (up to 285 ng/g wet weight).”

    But drinking tea just doesn’t have the visible advantages of smoking as a means of misdirection.

    From “In defence of smokers”
    “Perhaps, however, the most damaging element of the Doll study is an admission that he made when the study was finally terminated, in 2001. Writing in the December, 2001, issue of the British Medical Journal, Doll explained that the study was “devised by Sir Austin Bradford Hill to achieve maximum publicity for the critical link between smoking and lung cancer”.

    In short it was never intended as a serious scientific study to test the hypothesis that smoking may cause lung cancer. From the beginning, it was just propaganda – well intended, perhaps, but propaganda none-the-less.”

    Comment from someone calling himself John Lilburne

    “Sir Richard made important contributions to epidemiology, but he was no saint, contrary to the impression given by outraged letters to the press by his colleagues. He had a very well-developed sense of his own importance, which led him to confabulate his own narratives, perhaps unknowingly.

    In the case of his important early work on tobacco, for example, he erased reference to preceding American work and also to the origins of the research, portraying it as a open-ended study of several possible causes of lung cancer rather than as … work commissioned …to examine the effects of smoking.

    He was much given to telling Just-So stories about investigating the correlated growth of motor traffic and being surprised to find that smoking was the culprit, whereas the Home Office papers clearly show that smoking was the target cause from the outset. His later papers tended to rectify these stories, perhaps as a result of criticism.”

    “Whether or not Sir Richard’s work was affected by commissions will have to await the judgement of historians. However, it would be a mistake to suppose that research funded by governments or medical charities is immune from the problems afflicting commercial sponsorship. Whoever pays the piper will want to have some influence over the choice of tunes.

    As civil servants are apt to say, one doesn’t commission an enquiry unless one already knows the answer. Commissioned research in any field does not necessarily have to be swayed or censored by sponsors. They pick whom to fund in the knowledge of the researcher’s existing interests.”

    Not only were the London peasoupers killing people but after the war we couldn’t really afford to import the tobacco.
    Even before Doll’s study was published or possibly even started, the tobacco tax was raised massively in 1947 to such a degree that they introduced tobacco tax relief for pensioners, as discussed here –

    “As we all know, the expenditure of dollars on tobacco is one of our most serious problems.”

  9. Jonathan Bagley says:

    Frank, you’ve displayed two contradictory graphs of UK lc incidence. The linked graph from CRUK shows male incidence falling. The one in your piece shows it rising. Where doe this second one come from?

    • Frank Davis says:

      They’re both from the same page! CRUK have one graph (fig 1.3) showing lung cancer falling, and another one (fig 1.4 further down) showing it rising. I couldn’t figure them out, because they appear to contradict each other, as you say. But fig 1.4 was what I was after.

  10. Gary K. says:

    For your amusement.

    Over the last few decades the lung cancer death rate for never-smokers has gone UP by 100%.

    Using CDC data from these sources:

    we see that, recently, the 136 million never-smokers have 26,280 lung cancer deaths per year and that is a rate of 2/10,000.

    The 1992 EPA Report in Part 4, chart 4-7,pages 15-16, tells us that never-smokers had a lung cancer death(LCDR) rate of about 10-12/100,000 or 1/10,000.
    (NOTE: This is the Doll figures-GK)

    That 100% increase can not be caused by smoking, never-smokers don’t and there has been substantial decrease in the amount of SHS/ETS exposure since 1965.

    • Frank Davis says:

      That 100% increase can not be caused by smoking, never-smokers don’t and there has been substantial decrease in the amount of SHS/ETS exposure since 1965.

      Maybe smoking prevents lung cancer? There’s an Indian study somewhere which said that most lung cancers seemed to start when smokers gave up smoking.

      According to the figures I dug up, smoking prevalence in both the USA and the UK has been in decline for 60 – 80 years, just during the time when LC has been increasing. So it fits.

      Someone smokes all their life, and then gives up (or maybe just cuts down), and a year or two later, bingo, they’ve got lung cancer. They’re classed as smokers, and it’s assumed that all those years of smoking is the cause of LC, when, in fact, it was stopping smoking that caused it.

      • Jax says:

        I’ve long believed in the “shock” factor associated with suddenly giving up smoking after many years. After all, sudden, drastic changes to our lifestyle in any other area of life are definitely not recommended by any branches of the medical profession. No doctor in the world would recommend that even the most severely obese person should “crash” diet to lose weight, nor that a person who hasn’t exercised for years should go straight from being a habitual couch-potato to running 10 miles a day; heroin addicts are provided with methadone as part of their rehab programme as much to minimise the severe physical shocks to their bodies as to assist them in psychologically giving up the habit; and the life-threatening effects of giving up the booze after many years of very heavy drinking are well documented and often undertaken under medical supervision so that the dangers can be monitored and, if necessary, dealt with appropriately.

        Only when it comes to smoking does the medical profession depart from this wise and sensible approach, put their zealot-hats on and actively encourage – even coerce – their patients to put their bodies into a state of physiological and chemical shock which must surely render them vulnerable to many forms of systemic malfunctions (such as cancer), simply due to the wild chemical imbalances which result from the sudden withdrawal of a substance which, no matter how damaging doctors may believe it to be, that person’s system has become acclimatised to over many years.

        I’ve often wondered about this contradictory attitude, and I think that it has something of an element of self-preservation about it. Because if – as has been postulated on here many times, and as studies which are now slowly coming to light have indicated – smoking is in fact a preventative against cancer, rather than a cause of it, such impatience would begin to make some semblance of sense – because if in the fullness of time more and more and more of those healthy, clean-living non-smokers continue to die from the disease, whilst all around them all those wicked, “unhealthy” smokers continue to not die from it, then this would – shock! horror! – show in the most direct and unavoidable way that the medical profession were wrong all along. And not just a bit wrong either – totally, completely, and utterly wrong. So from the medical profession’s point of view, it becomes incredibly important to stop everyone from smoking – and to stop them right now. Because, if there’s no smokers around to not die of cancer, then their erroneous belief that smoking causes it will remain undiscovered.

        It’s one of the reasons why the shift of the anti-smoking movement away from genuine concerns about health into the realms of blind, pseudo-religious fanaticism is so, so dangerous.

        • Lexibug says:

          I agree!! As a hairdresser I have seen many smokers quit only to develop lung cancer 5 or 6 years after cessation. I’m a breast cancer survivor and my doctor told me my cancer was not caused from smoking. My estrogen caused it. As well, chemotherapy IS POISON used to kill cancer cells and it does. Not only does your body retaliate after quitting but those toxic chemicals in cigarettes, I believe actually prevent lung cancer. In my research diet and genetic predisposition proved to be more causative factors. Just always wondered about that!! Have a Blessed day everyone!!! :)

  11. Gary K. says:

    Currently, in America, about 20% of the adults are active smokers and just through random chance you would expect them to have about 20% of the lung cancers.
    Table 2:
    It shows that 20.9% of lung cancers occurred to current smokers.

    This does away with the 20 year lag;because, in 1990 about 25% of the adults were active smokers.

    Also, smokers and non-smokers are diagnosed with lung cancer at the same age.
    Although never smokers were slightly older at lung cancer diagnosis than current smokers in two population-based cohorts (MEC and NHEFS), this difference was not observed in the majority of cohorts evaluated (NHS, HPFS, CTS, and U/OLCR; Table 2).

    Per capita consumption of cigarettes tells us nothing about the number of smokers as that number has stayed about 46 million adults(USA) since 1990.

    The percentage has dropped due to the increased population.

    Since the average age of diagnosis for lung cancer is about 71 years of age, the incidence rate will continue to increase as there are more and more people over the age of 65 and they make up a larger and larger percentage of the general population.

  12. smokervoter says:

    I’m not sure if this helps or hinders us but, shouldn’t there be an alarming uptick of deaths from cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and emphysema of 50 year-olds right about now?

    If you were born in 1961, by the time you were five years of age the smoking prevalence had peaked in the US at 42.6%. Everyone smoked everywhere and thus smokers and non-smokers alike were exposed to mainstream and sidestream tobacco smoke on a regular basis.

    In fact, it wasn’t until around 1991 that there was even a slight letup in this situation as falling prevalence and indoor smoking bans took hold and lessened the exposure.

    So, for first 30 years of their lives, a lot of fifty year-olds were exposed to a lot of tobacco smoke. Notwithstanding our Surgeon General’s new one whiff theory, I’ve heard that the negative health consequences of smoking usually take 40-45 years to turn up. Where’s the onslaught of dead baby-boomers?

    I typed this up without doing much research in order to get it out before the comment thread dies out but, just off the top of my head, I don’t recall reading any headlines about a sudden die-off of 50 year-olds.

    If any of your readership, more skilled at statistical research than I (help me Rose), has uncovered something I might have overlooked here, please do tell.

    • Rose says:


      I’m afraid that I have to leave the statistics to the experts.

      “So, for first 30 years of their lives, a lot of fifty year-olds were exposed to a lot of tobacco smoke.”

      “Where’s the onslaught of dead baby-boomers?”

      But the baby-boomers were also subjected to even more of this for the first 20+ years of their lives.

      Yorkshire Post-1962 – I was 6 years old.

      “In the great London smog of 1952, some 4,000 people, mostly elderly, died. It was said to be the worst peace-time disaster in the capital since the Great Fire of London.

      Lessons were learned but on the 10th anniversary, the smog descended on Yorkshire and it was found not too much seemed to have changed. On December 6, in certain parts of Leeds, the sulphur dioxide concentrations were higher than the lethal levels recorded in London a decade earlier.”

      “LONDON and Leeds were the areas worst hit by smog yesterday. In London last night the number of deaths neared the 70 mark and in Leeds over 50 people were in hospital “acutely ill” with respiratory illness”

      “The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research also said that the sulphur dioxide concentration was six and five times higher than normal.

      Pollution compared to that of the 1952 smog, the experts said. But without the Clean Air Act conditions would have been worse than in 1952.
      In the Kirkstall Road area of Leeds, the sulphur dioxide concentration was greater than that registered in London in 1952. At 5,185 microgrammes per cubic metre it was the highest ever registered in the city.
      The smoke content of the air has decreased since the last bad smog in 1959 said Mr RA Dalley the city’s analyst. This was due to the smoke control zone.”

      “Fog mixed with smoke, chemicals and fumes, such as the major industrial conurbations and London have suffered in the last three days, damages lung tissue, stomach lining, nasal passages.
      Children’s lungs so damaged “will never be the same again”.

      “Doll pioneered the argument that cancer is caused by smoking, a view contested by environmentalists who point to the dangers of pollution”

      Air Pollution and the Great London Smog.


      Clean air fund for London aims to dodge EU pollution fine – Tuesday 5 April 2011

      “Plans to tackle London’s abysmal air quality have been given a double boost after the government pledged an extra £5m to help cut pollution, and the Mayor announced a package of vehicle discounts to help firms comply with new emissions standards.

      Transport Secretary Philip Hammond on Monday announced an extra £5m would be made available to Transport for London for a new Clean Air Fund specifically designed to help London comply with legally binding European targets for particulate matter PM10 and nitrous oxides.

      The money will be funded from savings found within the Department for Transport (DfT) over the past financial year, and comes after the EU increased pressure on the UK to comply with its standards or risk fines of up to £300m.”

  13. Gary K. says:

    Antis claim that smoking ’causes’ 80-90% of the lung cancers/lung cancer deaths.

    But; deaths to smokers/ex-smokers is NOT the same as deaths ’caused’ by smoking!!

    74% of the yearly lung cancer deaths happen to never-smokers or ex-smokers that have the same risk as never-smokers for lung cancer!!!

    If a never-smoker gets lung cancer and dies, no one can say that their death was caused by smoking, they never smoked!!

    An ex-smoker with the same risk for lung cancer/lung cancer death as a never-smoker can not be said to have had their lung cancer/lung cancer death ’caused’ by their smoking either.

    Presently, 11 out of 12, or 92%, of the ex-smokers had quit more than 15 years ago and would have the same risk of lung cancer/lung cancer death as do the never-smokers.

    The CDC says that 61% of the 157,000 lung cancer deaths per year happen to ex-smokers and 18% happen to never-smokers.

    92% of 61% is 56% of the yearly lung cancer deaths are happening to ex-smokers with the same risk for lung cancer as the never-smokers.

    56% plus 18% = 74% of the yearly lung cancer deaths happening to never-smokers or ex-smokers that have the same risk for lung cancer as never-smokers.

    Table 15: Percent of Adult Former Smokers by Sex, Race, Hispanic Origin, Age and Education, Selected Years, 1965-2008

    This is the percent of the ever-smokers.

    1990 = 49.1% = 44.4 million ex-smokers

    2008 = 51.1% = 48 million ex-smokers

    44.4 is 92% of 48.
    In 10 years your risk of lung cancer will have returned to that of a non-smoker.

    Ten years after quitting, the risk of dying from lung cancer is no longer higher than that of a non-smoker.

    After 10 Years
    · The death rate for lung cancer will be identical to a non-smoker

    lung cancer death rate decreases by half in 5 years, and is similar to that of nonsmokers after 10 years
    After Fifteen Years…
    And most importantly, you will have lowered your risk of death—period—nearly to the level of people who have never smoked.

    (Note: This would include lung cancer deaths-GK)

    In 15 years, The risk of death returns to nearly the level of a non-smoker.

    • Tim says:

      An ex-smoker with the same risk for lung cancer/lung cancer death as a never-smoker can not be said to have had their lung cancer/lung cancer death ’caused’ by their smoking either.

      No, they will say it was caused by second-hand-smoke. So if it’s not one (first hand) then it is the other (second hand).

      I’m not saying that is logical or correct. I am saying, that is how the propaganda effect is set up to work.

    • smokervoter says:

      Hey Gary and Rose!,

      I hope I haven’t hindered us here. Since the decline of exposure I cited in 1991 is twenty years ago, might that explain the lack of a major die-off of 50 year-olds? That and improved treatment. I did include all three main factors and not just lung cancer.

      The Highlight Health link guy totally lost me with the 200,000 secondhand smoke deaths, and his sources were all the usual suspects; the WHO, the National Cancer Institute, the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society. What a pitiful article, with the quitter commenter singing the praises of Chantix, no mention of rewiring his brain chemistry.

      His article citations were all circa 2005 and now the WHO is claiming 600,000 SHS deaths/year, a tripling in just five years. Truth be told, I’ve given up on all of the wildly varying numbers. Who can make any sense of it all anymore? The 443,000 overall US smoking-related annual death toll is a SAMMEC derived figure that I don’t trust.

      About the only figure you can sink your teeth into is that 2,423,712 or 0.00786 of the population died last year in the US. The average life expectancy was 78.1 years. Sometimes I think we should quit while we’re ahead.

      I’m in the smoking acknowledgment camp. Smoking is a creature comfort enjoyed by almost one-third of the planet and it’s not going away ever. There’s a risk to it as there is to life itself. The desire to eliminate all risk from life might explain the worldwide economic downturn that’s hurt mankind way more than smoking has. The toxic mortgage derivatives were all about risk aversion. As is Healthism and mass hypochondria. Meanwhile the Chinese economy keeps chugging along and they smoke more every year.

      I’m going to take my chances now and relax with a cigarette.

  14. Jonathan Bagley says:

    Apologies Frank, I see the graphs are displayed together on the CRUK website. That makes no sense.

  15. Jonathan Bagley says:

    One is for GB and the other UK; but that won’t make much of a difference. I suspect the decreasing graph is the correct one.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I suspect that LC incidence is rising (as in the USA), but LC mortality is falling with improved treatment. This may be the difference between the two graphs.

      • Frank Davis says:

        Actually, no, that doesn’t explain it either. Fig 1.3 has whatever is being measured falling from 87 per 100,000 to 62 per 100,000. Fig 1.4 has it rising from 46 per 100,000 to 58 per 100,000. I was supposing that fig 1.3 might be the death rate, and 1.4 the incidence. But LC death rate can’t be higher than LC incidence.

        • hebgb says:

          Naming new ‘conditions’ is enough to push the rate of discovery in spurts.
          Cant decide about this site – old pharts who dont want to admit the possibility of cancer, or long tobacco, or actually on to something. I found your site while positing the same questions. Thanks for the info. and opinions.

  16. Frank Davis says:

    Apologies to GaryK, but I have to moderate comments with more than one link in them. Dunno why. Hence the delay in the comments appearing.

  17. Tony says:

    Frank and Jonathan,

    Figure 1.4 in the CRUK document appears to be the wrong graph. There is an option to ‘Download this chart’ and if you do so, it turns out to show a decline as stated in the text. It also matches figure 1.3. I think they must have simply mixed up their images.

    Unfortunately the downloaded excel file does not contain any title or source information. And I think I have seen figures elsewhere that show a decline but a much smaller one. It may take me a while to find them though.

  18. Tony says:

    The ONS site has this document:
    Table 6.3 is the relevant one and I’m afraid it does show a halving of lung cancer mortality per capita over the period 1971-2008 for England and Wales.
    Oddly, the more recent ONS reports appear to omit the detailed tables.

    On the other hand, I think there was a big increase from 1950 to 1970. If I remember right, James Le Fanu (in “The rise and fall of modern medicine”) stated that there were only 5,000 cases in England in 1950. I haven’t seen any official figures though.

  19. Fredrik Eich says:

    “In 1950 there were 18,318 deaths from lung cancer in the United States”
    Yup, that seems about right, in my database I have
    M 14,922 F 3,391 (18,313) for 1950. I seem out by 5.
    I have peak M 92,564 in 1993 falling a little to 89,634 2005.
    F not peaked yet 68,735 2005. But I am not so sure of my numbers later on because
    of the changes in classification codes, but I would guess they are about right.

  20. Junican says:

    Hello, Frank. Just back from sunny Majorca.

    The more that one looks at the statistics, the sillier that they seem to become.

    I have a population pyramid for 2010 for the UK. Out of a total population of 62 million (all figures very approx), there were still about 1.5 million (on average) alive between 80 and 90 years old (there were also an unspecified number over 90 – the pyramid stops at 90). There were some 5.5 million still alive aged between 70 and 80.

    The age deaths for lung cancer that I have, for 2009, are ‘out of sync’ in respect of age bands, but it is still reasonable, in general terms, to compare the living and the dead.

    Still alive aged 70 to 80 Died from lung cancer aged 75 to 84

    5.5 million 10 thousand

    Still alive aged 80 to 90 Died from lung cancer aged 85 +

    1.5 million 4 thousand

    You can do the same with the age group 60 to 70, but I would do this only because it is around the age of 65 that lung cancer deaths start to accelerate:

    Still alive aged 60 to 70 Died from lung cancer aged 65 to 75

    15 million 9 thousand

    Note that the above deaths (65 +) from lung cancer total 23 thousands – the total of deaths from lung cancer was only 30 thousand altogether. Note also that 46% of deaths from lung cancer were in the age range 75 + . Does nobody die these days simply as a result of old age? But what is old age? It seems to be reasonable to me to say that the mechanism by which the body replaces cells and repairs damage has a limited life. You can do your best to live in the most healthy manner possible, and many have done so, but they all succumb to the limited life of ‘the mechanism’ eventually.

    No doubt people will say that smoking ‘causes’ heart deaths as well, but that is not what we are talking about, is it? We are talking specifically about lung cancer ‘caused’ by smoking.

    One could interpret these figures thus:

    On a given date (approximately) in the recent past, there were 22 million people over 60 who were alive. Of these, 23 thousand died from lung cancer in the next year. That means that 21 million 9 hundred and 77 thousand did not (although many died for other reasons). 0.1% of the people alive at that moment died subsequently from lung cancer. 99.9% did not.

    Isn’t that the problem with statistics? If one ignores the ’99.9% who did not’, one can build the most magnificent castle in the air. Does the same apply to these statistics about hospital admissions in Scotland? How many of these admissions were old people? Was the failure of ‘the mechanism’ taken into account?

    Finally, I have no doubt that Aristotle and Plato and such believed that they had arrived at the ultimate explanation of everything in their time. We seem also to have a similar situation now. The medical profession seems to think that it knows everything. In fact, it knows so little that it is becoming comical. (The same applies to climatologists, I suppose) I read somewhere that chromosomes have ‘caps’ at the end, and over the years these ‘caps’ wear down, and that is why we age. The caps are ‘the mechanism’. But who knows?

  21. Junican says:

    PS. I see that the computer has ignored the spaces which I put into the stats. Read – Alive…………………………..Dead.
    5.5 mill……………………….10 thou


  22. Nice informative and helpful post. You have good command on the topic and have explained in a very nice way. Thanks for sharing.Nice work,hope your blog be better!I just want to make a blog like this!

  23. Pingback: Poll: smoking or no-smoking? - Page 3 - Political Forum

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  25. Warlord Moneybags says:

    George Ohsawa stated that as cancer was a Yin disease, nicotine, which is Yang would inhibit the growth of tumours. He said that cancer was a disease of the whole body caused by chronic over-acidity and that the body isolated it to the weakest point so that the immune system could fight the disease on a limited front. If your lungs were weak from smoking then you would get lung cancer etc.

    See ‘Macrobiotics’ — (the Zen Buddhist dietary philosophy). Dr Michio Kushi is a good place to start.

  26. Take your vitamins, including multi-vitamins and fish oil.
    It is not exactly like smoking real cigarettes, but it is close.

  27. Hello there, You’ve done a fantastic job.
    Keep writing such kind of information on your blog.
    Im really impressed by your blog.
    I am sure they will be benefited from this website.

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  30. Sasha says:

    I tried tacking down these numbers, but when I clicked your link, “their actual graph”, 1.4, which now shows an uninterrupted fall in lung cancer rates. I can’t find the graph you post anywhere on the page. Do you know why this might be?

    • Frank Davis says:

      It would appear that they have removed that particular graph since I linked to the page in 2011. This isn’t the first time that this has happened with CRUK.

      The graph that I show beneath the link is the one that they used to have.

  31. kyrani99 says:

    From my experience “smoking definitely does NOT cause lung cancer”!

    I smoked about half to a pack of cigarettes a day since I was in my early twenties. In early 1993, in my mid 40s, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer and I left Cairns, the town I had moved to, to work, to return to Sydney for a second opinion. I had at the time a reddish brown phlegm that I had ignored, not realizing it was a symptom of lung cancer. I took 5 1/2 weeks to drive down to Sydney. Within the 1st week of driving, doing a 2hr meditative walk every day to help me get over the stress I was feeling, I found the phlegm had lessened. By the time I got to Brisbane, a bit more than 1/2 way, the phlegm was gone. And I was smoking all of that time about a pack of cigarettes a day.

    In Sydney I was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer with metastasis to the uterus, cervix, bowel and both lungs. By that time all of the symptoms I had had vanished. I told my doctors that I believed I was in remission but they did not want to accept it. They said, from the tests that they had done, I had six month, a year if I was lucky, to live. There was no treatment that they said would help me. By the middle of the following year, 1994, I was feeling good so I went back to have some more tests to see if there was any change. The doctors could not find any trace of cancer anywhere in my body!

    After having become an activist, meaning to expose medical fraud, I have been attacked in many different ways (Am I bad for business?) but some of those lead to a number of different cancers between 2004 and 2010. What I discovered helped me heal myself, deliberately effecting cancer remission.

    I found that smoking never directly caused my lung cancer. It was suggestions that were constantly being made to me, not only about smoking but in other ways as well, which lead to the other cancers. My understanding is that cancer is stem-cell mediated immunity, erroneously ignited and with the help of the immune system, to attempt to build a cell barrier from a perceived possible harm. In the case of the lung cancer, I found many references in my diary of the time, of people, who I later found were enemies, of repeated suggestions that smoking was damaging my lungs. And these suggestions were made under conditions of a concealed threat. I describe how cunningly this is brought about in a video series I am near completing about the underlying conditions of almost all disease.

    I had 8 cancers in all.
    The first remission was a spontaneous remission after I moved away from the town AND followed an intuition to cut my ties with everyone there. This may have been because I saw some “bad influences” and was not able to assess who was bad and who was not.

    The second remission (from esophageal cancer) came after I resolved an issue that was causing me stress and used a PC game to mentally counter attack those that were wanting to hassle me.

    The third remission came after I used Vipassana (insight meditation) to examine what was going on in my body, how and why. What I learnt helped me to deliberately effect spontaneous remission, i.e., my body cleaned up after I realized what the foul play was about and how I had reacted, which is a bodily reaction.

    The subsequent 5 cancers (including 2Xbone, pancreatic, skin and ovarian) I used the opportunity for a few weeks to a month, to observe what was happening and why before I deliberately effected remission. I was attacked many more times after 2010 and used these occasions to perfect my methods of preventing the stem-cell reaction and never developed cancers.

    I have started to make a video series beginning here documenting my experiences, my scientific study and my research in the scientific literature, to help others also get well by themselves and never develop cancer again.
    Remarkable as it may sound to you, it only takes an aha experience to move your body to effect spontaneous cancer remission.

  32. Or was it, that smoking is an elixir against cancer?

  33. Pingback: Tobacco – Smokin’ the Propaganda – SAVAGE PLANE

  34. Pingback: Property Rights: Nanny State The psychology of power - Smokers Club

  35. Dawn says:

    Could the Elephant in the room be radon exposure? According to the EPA, CDC and the WHO, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
    Radon levels in our homes, schools and workplaces have increased since the mid 1990’s due to Energy efficient building practices have an unintended consequence of reducing the air changes in our structures and causing Indoor Air Pollution. The increased and elevated levels of Radon, 54% of the ionizing radiation ANYONE will be exposed to in their lifetime, could be getting trapped in the air we breathe and causing increased incidents of Lung Cancer.
    The latency period for radon exposure is between 5 and 25 years. The statistics we are seeing could just be the beginning if public awareness does not get better.

  36. Elliott Bettman says:

    Cigarette smoking not related to Lung Cancer?!? What are you people smoking?? I’m a physician, and the link is indisputable.
    1. 85% of Lung Cancer occurs in smokers
    a. The 15% of “exceptions” commonly occur in smoking households
    b. many of the rest occur in uranium miners and asbestos workers.
    2. Cancer Deaths, while still too high, have been falling. I freely admit we still don’t have good
    enough treatments. “It’s better to have AIDS than Cancer.”
    3. Off-topic, I admit, but there used to be a LOT more Heart Disease and COPD (emphysema)
    deaths, mostly because of smoking. (in the former case, untreated high blood pressure and trans
    fats were also a factor.) Type 2 Diabetes continues to be a problem with the increase in obesity.
    Yes, smokers tend to be a bit thinner, but, TRUST me-it’s not worth it!

  37. Dawn says:

    I guess we are ALL uranium miners Then? Since Lung Cancer from Uranium in the mines is not disputed to come from Radioactive Progeny from RADON. Energy efficient building practices have increased radon levels in structures significantly in the last 30 years due to the increased negative pressure and less air changes our residences, school and workplaces are ALL filled with toxic radiation from the uranium in the bedrock underneath the structures.
    Having worked in the Radon Industry for over 30 years, I agree with the author people are getting Lung Cancer and possibly other forms of cancer from something. Since Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer it only makes sense just to stop smoking or NEVER SMOKE is NOT ENOUGH.

    • Joe L. says:

      Since Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer it only makes sense just to stop smoking or NEVER SMOKE is NOT ENOUGH.

      You raise a great point, Dawn. Thanks to the “settled science” claims that smoking is the leading cause of lung (and other) cancers, less scientific effort has been focused on understanding other (real) causes of these cancers.

      The recent reports suggesting that the incidence of lung cancer (as well as other “smoking-related” cancers) is on the rise over the same period where smoking rates have steadily declined should raise much concern that scientists have failed us. We are no closer to understanding how to treat and/or prevent cancer because the progress of science has been crippled thanks to a divisive and very profitable red herring.

      Could increasing ambient radon levels be the culprit? Quite possibly, but we will never know until the dogma surrounding smoking and lung cancer is destroyed.

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