FINALLY. We now know what causes lung cancer (and mouth cancer, throat cancer, larynx cancer, esophageal cancer, esophageal cancer, pancreas cancer, cervix cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, emphysema, and heart disease - the list goes on and on). The Liggett Group has told us. AND, Phillip Morris and R.J. Reynolds have now come to the table to talk (and to cut their losses). Let us hope that we can get on with the job of compensating the victims and as importantly, preventing others from exposure and addiction.

The World Health Organization tells us that three million people die worldwide every year as a result of smoking. The American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study II estimates that smoking is related to 419,000 US deaths each year. Although the number of cardiovascular deaths is declining, smoking-related cancer deaths continue to rise. The risks of dying from lung cancer are 23 times higher for male smokers and 11 times higher for female smokers than for people that have never smoked. Smoking accounts for 29% of all cancer deaths.

Approximately 87% of all lung cancer are related to cigarette smoking. Overall there has been a decrease in the incidence of smoking from 1974 through 1992. Smoking cessation decreases the risk of developing lung cancer but does not occur until 5 years after stopping and remains higher than the risk in non-smokers for 25 years. Second-hand smoke accounts for 3000 lung cancer deaths per year. Nonsmokers who live in a household with smokers have a 30% increase in the incidence of lung cancer compared to nonsmokers who do not live in such an environment. Asbestos exposure, radioactive dust and radon exposure are all risk factors for lung cancer, particularly if a person smokes as well.

The incidence of tobacco-related cancers in the United states is 360,000 new cases every year with 240,000 deaths. By far the most frequent tobacco-related cancer is lung cancer with 178,000 cases per year and 160,400 deaths. The survival for lung cancer is only 13%.

In 1984 there were 87 cases of lung cancer per 100,000 men and in 1993 this number decreased to 77 cases per 100,000 men. Unfortunately, for women the number has increased and in 1993 was 42 cases per 100,000. In California, the 25 cent increase in the tobacco tax in 1988 - Proposition 99 - resulted in a definite decrease in the incidence of smoking. Currently 16.7% of Californians smoke. Unfortunately in California, there is an increase in the rate of smoking for all ages but particularly among the youth of our state. In the United states 25% of the population or 48 million people smoke. The highest incidence of smoking is found in Hawaiians and African-Americans.

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