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Researcher: Farhad Islami, MD, PhD
Institution: American Cancer Society, Department of Surveillance and Health Equity Science
Area of Focus: Cancer Disparity Research
“Research shows that variations in total cigarette tax rates and other tobacco-control initiatives likely contribute to differences in smoking-related cancer deaths in the same regions. For example, there’s a smaller proportion of deaths from cancer related to cigarette smoking in the New York City area compared to the rest of the state likely because of the dual tax on cigarettes there--$1.50/pack city tax plus $4.35/pack state tax.
Broad and equitable implementation and enforcement of proven tobacco control intervention at all government levels could avert many deaths from cancer across the US.”
—Farhad Islami, MD, PhD
The Challenge: Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. Previous research reported that almost 30% of cancer deaths in the US were attributable to smoking, with considerable variation across states, ranging from almost 17% in Utah to 34% in Kentucky.
Yet, there are limited data on the burden of cancer attributable to cigarette smoking in smaller geographical areas.
The Research: Farhad Islami, MD, PhD, the Scientific Director of Cancer Disparity Research at the American Cancer Society (ACS), and his team estimated the proportion of cancer deaths attributable to cigarette smoking (or population attributable fraction [PAF]) in 152 US cities considered to be either metropolitan or micropolitan statistical areas (MMSAs). Here’s an overview of their findings.
The proportion of cancer deaths attributable to cigarette smoking was greater in men than in women in all evaluated locations.
Cities with the highest proportions of cancer deaths from smoking were:
The proportion of cancer deaths linked with cigarette smoking in cities within the same region or state had substantially varying ranges:
In addition to Dr. Islami, authors on this study include current ACS researchers, Priti Bandi, PhD, and Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PhD, as well as previous ACS researchers Liora Sahar, PhD, GISP, Jiemin Ma, PhD, and Jeffrey Drope, PhD.
Why Does it Matter? Information on cancer deaths attributable to cigarette smoking by city and region can inform and help evaluate local tobacco control policies such as city- or county-level tobacco taxes and smoke-free air laws, which have been shown to reduce the number of people who smoke.