Ukraine: Smoking Up, Lung Cancer Down

H/T Fredrik Eich for this WHO graph:


It shows US and Russian and Ukrainian lung cancer mortality all peaking about 1990, and then falling at pretty much the same rate.

“What’s surprising about that?” you ask, before adding, “As smoking prevalence in the USA fell, it was probably falling in much the same way in Russia and Ukraine as well.”

Only it seems it wasn’t falling at all. In 2001, when male smoking prevalence in the USA has fallen to about 20%, Russian and Ukrainian smoking prevalence remained at levels last seen in the 1950s or 1960s in the USA.


What’s more, smoking prevalence in Russia has actually been rising. From Tobacco in Russian History and Culture: The Seventeenth Century to the Present, edited by Matthew Romaniello, Tricia Starks, 2009, Anna Gilmore on page 260:


And a few pages later:


So there you have it. Russian and Ukrainian smoking has been ‘spiralling’. In Russia smoking prevalence has been rising since about 1990, and it was almost certainly rising before that too. And half the chiiiildren are smokers too! Completely the opposite to what’s been happening in the USA and western Europe.

But lung cancer mortality rates in both countries have been falling in line with US lung cancer mortality rates.

Which rather suggests that whatever causes lung cancer, it isn’t smoking.

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52 Responses to Ukraine: Smoking Up, Lung Cancer Down

  1. Fredrik Eich says:

    More good news and one for Nightlight. Interesting mouse study from 2012.

    “Serial lung function measurements documented hyperinflation after 3 and 6 months of cigarette smoke exposure, with a significant 31–37% increase in total lung capacity (TLC) and a significant 26–35% increase in compliance (Cchord) when compared with animals exposed to filtered air only (P<0.001 after 3 and after 6 months). … Mortality in controls was twice the mortality in CS[Cigarette Exposed]-exposed animals … that the typical marker for airway obstruction (the FEV0.1:FVC ratio) was not affected in our model. In contrast to what is seen in humans with COPD or emphysema, FEV0.1 even increased with disease progression.”

    So in short smoking did not cause lung disease in these mice it prevented death and increased lung capacity which might be handy if you happen to have diseased lungs.

    But then people knew that smoking mice live longer than non-smoking mice 60 years ago …

    ” Dr B M Wright ‘is examining, with an ingenious apparatus of his own invention, the effect on mice of living for long periods in a heavy atmosphere of tobacco smoke’).”

    So if it is true that in smoking helps improved lung capacity in diseased lungs then it is hardly surprising if there is a link between smoking and lung diseases. Duh.

    • Rose says:

      It seems that Dr B M Wright’s ingenious apparatus was some kind of fume cabinet in which he kept mice for long periods of time.
      He lent it to some other experimenters who were equally unsuccessful.

      Thirty-Second Annual Report Covering The Year 1954 BRITISH EMPIRE CANCER CAMPAIGN Presented At The Annual General Meeting, July 12, 1955

      page 2

      “In different laboratories, large groups of mice have been exposed for the major part of their lives to cigarette smoke, without lung cancer having been observed in any instance.

      A possible explanation is that mice are refractory, and a group of 24 hamsters is therefore being exposed to the smoke of 50 cigarettes a day, in a specially designed cabinet lent to the Institute by Dr. B. M. Wright.

      No tumours have been observed in the first 8 months of this experiment. ”

      So they tried more extreme and unlikely methods.

      “Cigarettes in which finely chopped cigarette paper replaced the tobacco filling have also been smoked in the machine used for the cigarette tar experiments, the resulting tar being injected subcutaneously into mice and rats and intratracheally into hamsters.”

      The benzepyrene that they were relying on, disappeared so quickly from the body as to be useless.

      “Though the insoluble material reaching the lungs accumulates there and remains for some consider- able time, benzpyrene has not been detected in any of the human lungs examined.

      Arsenic in lungs was estimated by the method of Thomas and Collier (1945) fol- lowing ashing of the tissue with magnesium nitrate as recommended by Evans and Bandemer (1954).

      The results for eight cases varied from 5 to 68 pg. per 100 g. wet lung tissue. The quantity of arsenic detected in human lungs is small and arsenic apparently does not accumulate in the lungs.

      The relatively rapid disappearance of benzpyrene from the animal body has been demonstrated previously experimentally and apart from the possible localisation of a small quantity in the lungs by adsorption on finely divided carbon the present find- ings for lungs agree with the previous findings for the whole animal body.

      In view of the presence of benzpyrene in atmospheric soot to the extent of about 100 parts per million of dry weight, the rapid elimination of benzpyrene from the lungs may protect them to some extent from the possible action of this substance which, though strongly suspect, is not positively known to be carcinogenic for any of the tissues of man.”

      You can understand why they eventually gave up on the scientific method and opted for epidemiology alone.

  2. prog says:

    Well, there’s this of course…

    presented as a graph..

    I assume the earliest were mostly air bursts.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      The U.S. national annual background dose for humans is approximately 360 mrem. A mrem, or millirem, is a standard measure of radiation dose. Examples of radiation doses from common medical procedures are:

      Chest x-ray (14 x 17 inch area) – 15 mrem

      Dental x-ray (3 inch diameter area) – 300 mrem

      Spinal x-ray (14 x 17 inch area) – 300 mrem

      Thyroid uptake study – 28,000 mrem to the thyroid

      Thyroid oblation – 18,000,000 mrem to the thyroid

      Average Annual Total
      361 mrem/year

      Tobacco (If You Smoke, Add ~ 280 mrem)

      Not quite 1 dental xray for a whole years smoking ehh!


      Thyroid oblation – 18,000,000 mrem to the thyroid /shrinking the thyroid

      Tobacco (If You Smoke, Add ~ 280 mrem)

      18,000,000 / 280 = roughly 64,000 years of equivalent years of smoking!

      Click to access 320-063_bkvsman_fs.pdf

    • margo says:

      Peak in testing in the 1960s – peak in lung cancer in the 1980s. That figures, I reckon.

      • prog says:

        Yes, amd unlike the figs quoted for tobacco the effects probably wouldn’t take 40+ years to appear.

        OT (slightly) but this seems to counteract the claims made elsewhere by TC that rates in women have increased because more started smoking in the 60s and 70s.

        1st fig.

        • nisakiman says:

          I note that the first sentence in your link states:

          More than half a century ago, the causal link between lung cancer and tobacco smoking was established

          As I understand it, a causal link has never been established, merely correlation. If I’m correct, then that statement is a bald-faced lie. In which case, how the hell do they get away with it?

    • prog says:


      • nisakiman says:

        The consistency of all the epidemiologic and experimental evidence also supports the conclusion of a causal relationship with cigarette smoking, while there are serious inconsistencies in reconciling the evidence with other hypotheses which have been advanced.

        “Supports the conclusion of a causal relationship…” does not, to me, sound like a statement of fact. More of a “Well, we really think that the evidence points to this, but we don’t actually have any empirical proof.”

        Which is pretty much on a par with the oft used “Could cause…”; “May increase the risk of…”; “Scientists believe that…”; Research suggests that…”; “Experts think,,,” and so on ad nauseam. Basically, they haven’t a clue, so they’re blustering because they know what is expected of them.

        Weasel words and obfuscation.

  3. Nightlight says:

    I think those lung cancer mortality rates are “age adjusted” i.e. divided by average lifespan, hence as lifespans increase the ‘age adjusted’ LC death rates drop (even though the life extensions are mostly due to better surgeries, general diagnostics, new drugs, sanitation i.e. unrelated to either LC or to smoking).

    If tobacco smoke particles are the cause of lung cancer, then the only relevant parameter is how many cigarettes were smoked, since that determines how many total interactions between lung cells and smoke particles. Since the total number of cigarettes smoked, say in USA, is approximately the same as in1950s, while total number of lung cancers has increased by order of magnitude, to blame tobacco smoke one would have to conjecture that the same smoke particles have become order of magnitude more carcinogenic, and that’s absurd.

    In addition to effects on LC death rates from dividing the absolute rates by lifespans, the awareness of air pollution has increased in developed nations and laws now limit how much pollution vehicles and factories can emit, which has improved the air quality generally, yielding the lower LC rates. Similarly, the atmospheric nuclear tests have ceased in 1960s, thus the carcinogenic fallout has gradually diminished, again affecting LC rates.

    Of course, they’ll attribute declines to smoking decline in places where it fits the data, otherwise it goes unmentioned as in Ukraine. The way that “logic” works is via “truth frames” — each “truth frame” is a set of rules (or subroutines, subprograms) that constrains which logical or reasoning paths are allowed and which disallowed, which facts are mentioned and which overlooked in a given context. The mass media and experts follow these truth frames instinctively (if they care for their jobs and funding). Those who can’t be trained into such “flexible” ways of truth frame “reasoning” are weeded out during university and graduate school years, hence they never make it into the positions where their voices are amplified by the system. Hence all one gets to hear as official views are the views developed and expressed by the “flexible” types of humans (also known as lying scum, when they don’t make it to positions of power for some other reasons).

    • Frank Davis says:

      Those who can’t be trained into such “flexible” ways of truth frame “reasoning” are weeded out during university and graduate school years, hence they never make it into the positions where their voices are amplified by the system.

      That’s me! Although I did make postgraduate before I got weeded out.

      P.S. “age adjusted” i.e. divided by average lifespan Are you saying that the falls are simply an artifact produced by the ‘adjustment’? If so, ‘falls’ in LC in the USA and UK are also an artifact. I wish we were given the unadjusted figures.

      • kin_free says:

        You may have already seen these unadjusted lung cancer figures for USA 2000 and 2008; (Screen prints from ACS website but no longer found there, can be seen in the appendices here; (Scottish public consultation document))

        ACS stats: NEW CASES of lung and bronchus cancer in the USA 2000 there were 164,100 new cases – in 2008, there were 215,020 new cases; 31% increase! (US population increased by 8% over the same period)

        It is becoming increasingly difficult to find official unadjusted figures such as these but when we compare these figures showing a substantial increase in LC, with the graph above that suggests a substantial reduction, we can begin to understand why! The difference between ‘actual’ and ‘adjusted’ new lung cancer cases is a massive!

        As we see by the Ukraine / US graph, age adjusted figures can be of use when comparing different countries and their respective tobacco use.

        Here’s another;
        USA has double the Cancer rate of China;
        USA – 407 cases per 100,000 / China – 205 per 100,000)\

        BUT HALF of the male smoking rate:
        China – 60% / USA – 25% – or less?

        and China has only two thirds the lung cancers of USA.

        More can be found here- ‘The burden of cancer in Asia’:

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          The ranking goes for all cancer deaths/mortality:

          Per 100,000 population CDC NUMBERS/ smoking rates from tobacco free kids

          Kentucky at 207 Adults in Kentucky who smoke* 29.0% (971,000)

          Miss. 200 Adults in Mississippi who smoke* 26.0% (579,300)

          West Virginia 196 Adults in West Virginia who smoke* 28.6% (420,500)

          Louisianna 196 Adults in Louisiana who smoke* 25.7% (888,300)

          Arkansas 193 Adults in Arkansas who smoke* 27.0% (601,400)

          Alabama 190 Adults in Alabama who smoke* 24.3% (893,100)

          Indiana 187 Adults in Indiana who smoke* 25.6% (1,259,300)

          Maine 186 Adults in Maine who smoke* 22.8% (241,400)

          Missouri 184 Adults in Missouri who smoke* 25.0% (1,149,600)

          Delaware 184 Adults in Delaware who smoke* 21.8% (153,100)

          South Carolina 182 Adults in South Carolina who smoke* 23.1% (831,200)

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Lung and Bronchus. Invasive Cancer Incidence Rates and 95% Confidence Intervals by Age and Race and Ethnicity, United States (Table *†‡

          Rates are per 100,000 persons. Rates are per 100,000 persons.

          Note the age where LC is found…………..OLD AGE group incidence hits the 500/100,000 at age 75-85

          AGE it seems is the deciding factor……….

 Cancer Sites Combined&Year=2010&Site=Lung and Bronchus&SurveyInstanceID=1

        • beobrigitte says:

          Age IS the deciding factor.
          Our bodies have a life span – even though we age slightly “different” as individuals.

          Simple example: your heart. It beats about 80x/minute. After 50… 60…70 years it gets worn out! Nature takes it’s course.

          Cell division: it’s tight regulation slackens off; little “faults” appear which knock the e.g.”repair” mechanism and the whole lot “wobbles” along instead of functioning properly.
          Add this “well-being” and “health” stress administered these days and you have the recipe for disaster.

          But then, according to the BBC there are so many youngsters with mental health issues that I do wonder WHO is paying for my pension.

      • Fredrik Eich says:

        ” I wish we were given the unadjusted figures.”
        Crude rate

        number of deaths

  4. Some other Tom says:

    Very interesting!

  5. west2 says:

    It will be interesting to know what Chris Snowden makes of this.

    • Fredrik Eich says:

      Well one thing is for certain, the billions in lost taxes caused by the activities of the tobacco control industry has been a monumental waste of money. Because while the tobacco industry was present in both east and west the tobacco control industry was missing in the east and the age adjusted trends in LC went in to free fall any way and at around the same time as in the west.

      Cost of tobacco industry – zero dollars
      Cost of tobacco control industry in tax losses – billions may be trillions of dollars.

      Same result LC rate down after ~1985.

    • I was thinking the same thing

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    Public place smoking bans fail as smokers ignore rules to light up

    Pauline Priest & Cathy Stubbs •
    Central Coast Gosford Express Advocate •
    February 25, 2014 12:14AM

    • nisakiman says:

      That link was doing my head in, Harley! Bloody page was refreshing every five seconds! I’d read three lines, and I’d be at the top of the page again! GAAAHHH!

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    Another Smoking Ban Lawsuit Back In Court

    Bars suing in Marion County court to overturn ban in Indianapolis

    Two weeks after the State Supreme Court struck down the smoking ban in Evansville, another challenge to the ban on lighting up in Indianapolis will be in court.

    A Marion County Superior Court judge is scheduled to hold a hearing this morning on a lawsuit against the smoking ban filed by two bars last fall. Those bars were not part of the federal lawsuit challenging the ban that was turned aside by a U.S. district judge and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago last year.

    The newer lawsuit was filed shortly after oral arguments were heard in the Evansville case by the State Supreme Court. “Our complaint was identical to the complaint filed in Evansville except for the names of the parties and the specific ordinance citation”, said Mark Small the attorney for the Indianapolis bars. “The only difference between the two laws is that in Evansville, there is an exemption for riverboat casinos. In Indianapolis, there is an exemption for satellite gambling bars.” The day of Supreme Court decision in the Evansville case, Small filed a motion asking for an immediate ruling in the Indianapolis bars’ favor.

    The smoking ban in Indianapolis contains more exemptions than Evansville’s now-former ban. In addition to the satellite betting bar, specialty tobacco bars like cigar and hookah bars can allow smoking, as can retail tobacco stores and private clubs whose members vote in favor of smoking. But Small claims the crux of the Evansville ruling is that one type of bar was favored over another. “The exemption that was at issue in Evansville was the gambling boat. That’s what they hung their hats on, and that’s what we have cited in our case.”

    The lone off-track betting facility in Indianapolis, Winner’s Circle on Pennsylvania Avenue, also has a bar and restaurant. It is owned by Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson and was exempted from the smoking ban largely for the same reason Evansville exempted it’s casino – the amount of tax revenue it generates for local government.

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    I just hope people appreciate the hours and years we have put in to rid the world of prohibitionists.

  9. harleyrider1978 says:

    Overt lobbying from a charity that gets 90% of income from the taxpayer. via @AdamCleave

    European Tobacco Products Directive – Vote on 26th Feb

    The European Tobacco Products Directive governs many important aspects of tobacco product regulation across the European Union. The current revision of the Directive has been ongoing throughout 2013 and into 2014, and is now reaching the end of the…

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      European Tobacco Products Directive – Vote on 26th Feb

      The European Tobacco Products Directive governs many important aspects of tobacco product regulation across the European Union. The current revision of the Directive has been ongoing throughout 2013 and into 2014, and is now reaching the end of the European Parliamentary Process.

      The Directive contains many important public health measures that will improve the health of Scotland, as well as other Member States of the European Union, by:
      •introducing a new minimum standard of large (65%) pictorial health warnings for tobacco products
      •prohibiting flavours used to make cigarettes more attractive and appealing, such as menthol
      •mandating the creation of an independent tracking and tracking system to tackle the illicit trade in tobacco
      •banning the sale of packs of less than 20 cigarettes, or pouches of hand-rolled tobacco less than 30g
      •introducing new regulations for electronic cigarettes

      The European Parliament is voting on the Directive in an important vote on the morning of 26th February. If the Directive passes the Parliament at this stage, the above measures will be set to become law. You can help, by emailing your MEP before Wednesday morning!

  10. harleyrider1978 says:

    Domino Effect: Ukraine Neighbor Belarus May Be Next

    Fossilized Soviet-era policies make Belarus a prime candidate for the next crisis

    Kurt Nimmo
    February 23, 2014

    Aleksandr Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin in 2002. Photo: Wikimedia
    Aleksandr Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin in 2002. Photo: Wikimedia

    Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko Sunday made a point of stating that the Maidan revolution that has transformed Ukraine will not be a factor in Belarus.

    “There will be no Maidan in Belarus,” Lukashenko said. He admitted that likewise tensions exist in his country and said it is the “sacred mission” of the Belarusian state to “preserve peace and stability in our land.”

    Lukashenko vowed his government will “prevent even smallest indications of instability in our country. The neighboring Ukraine, which has become an arena for a clash between powerful internal and external forces, should be a lesson for us.”

  11. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank I think that Obama and the EU meaning Merkel are financing the protestors to try and keep these countries forcibly in the EU. We have seen the EU install their own puppet governments in Italy and other places. It seems to me the whole damnable business is about to BUST WIDE OPEN and collapse……….Meanwhile Arnot and the rest keep o pumping their BS laws thru as fast as a star trek spaceship can move at wharp speed.

  12. Jonathan Bagley says:

    The smoking/lc hypothesis supposes a 30 year lag, so whether smoking rates were declining between 1965 and 1980 is what is important. In Russia and Ukraine I doubt they were. Interesting stuff.

  13. JD Lark says:

    Thanks for doing all this.

  14. harleyrider1978 says:

    Even in death you still cant smoke! ROFLMAO

    Call to ban smoking in crematoriums

    You can’t stop smoke coming from the crematorium, but the Invercargill City Council is considering stopping it coming from the cemeteries.

    The Southern District Health Board has approached the council to ask it to make a smokefree policy in its cemeteries and crematorium bylaw that bans smoking in those areas.

    While several councillors did not meet the idea with enthusiasm, Invercargill City Council parks manager Robin Pagan said the proposal should be considered at a later date.

    The council was waiting to hear from the Government which was proposing changes to the Burial and Cremation Act 1964 and Mr Pagan suggested the smokefree policy could be considered along with those changes.

    It was costly to change a council bylaw so it would make sense to do both at the same time, he said. However, councillors did not seem swayed by the idea.

    “How can you get a smokefree crematorium,” councillor Peter Kett asked.

    Councillor Karen Arnold said she believed if people wanted to reflect on their loved ones and have a cigarette, they should be able to do so.

    “I don’t see anything wrong with that.”

    Councillor Lloyd Esler agreed. “This is outdoors and where do you stop policing.”

    • beobrigitte says:

      Harley, GREAT find!!! I am still giggling!!!!!!!

      A Mr. Pagan is getting a little carried away on this anti-smokers’ hype and does not object to make an idiot of himself.

      At least the 2 councillors can see the absurdity of Mr. Pagan’s request.

  15. garyk30 says:

    Pretty chart; but, it is not an accurate presentation.
    Lung Cancer is a very rare disease.

    The chart gives data per 100,000 people; but, the chart shows numbers per 100 people.

    The lines should be 1,000 times flatter or be shown between 0 and 1 on that chart that shows per 100.

    50/100,000 would be 0.05/100 or 5/10,00ths of 1.

    • garyk30 says:

      Or one could look at things this way.
      The highest death rate was 75/100,000.

      In spite of over 60% of the population smoking, 99.925% of the population did NOT die from lung cancer.

      Nice paradox: smoking causes lung cancer; but, only rarely does a smoker die from lung cancer.

  16. harleyrider1978 says:

    Student group protests proposed campus-wide smoking ban at University of Toledo

    Mr. Peachock, who works as a resident advisor, says the smoking shelters are not safe. Since the 2013-14 school year began, he said at least three incidents have occurred at these facilities, including one stabbing, one armed robbery, and one fight, where a gun was drawn.

  17. beobrigitte says:

    Ukraine: Smoking Up, Lung Cancer Down

    This actually is common knowledge, but, as expected, there is nothing in the media about it. Such widespread is the anti-smoking cancer which eats away the fabric of any community.

    Unfortunate for the Ukrainians; they are sat on wealth and have no idea that the EU is no better than the old USSR….
    But tobacco control was VERY busy lobbying.

    University education:
    Those who can’t be trained into such “flexible” ways of truth frame “reasoning” are weeded out during university and graduate school years, hence they never make it into the positions where their voices are amplified by the system.

    Yep. I, too, made postgrad but then I had too many questions… And I made the mistake of pointing out that cancer is a multi-factorial disease, when it was proudly announced that the university was no longer accepting funding from the tobacco industry. Bias starts at the point of funding research.

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  20. Treatment of lung cancer can involve a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy as well as newer experimental methods.The general prognosis of lung cancer is poor because doctors tend not to find the disease until it is at an advanced stage. Five-year survival is 40% to 50% for early stage lung cancer, but only 1% to 5% in advanced, inoperable lung cancer.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Treatment of lung cancer can involve a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy

      Rather medieval, wouldn’t you say? Especially since these treatments are the standard treatments even in 2014.

      as well as newer experimental methods.

      Do enlighten us; Detail the ones that have replaced the rather crude methods of chemotherapy and radiation therapy!!!!

      The general prognosis of lung cancer is poor because doctors tend not to find the disease until it is at an advanced stage.

      Let’s face it; people diagnosed with lung cancer these days will try and hide their illness, thanks to tobacco control&friends.

      And, please state the age group that is mostly affected by cancer.

  21. If I am not wrong then this only Men’s data what about women’s now if you see women’s are also suffering from lung cancer…Sometime i think atleast this kind of survey gonna release that how they spoiling their life…with such type of article kindly share precautionary measures also…so atleast they will get solution there only…
    One more things I heard that non smoker also suffering from lung cancer is it true…??

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