ASH welcomes Cancer Research UK research on avoidable cancer

Cancer Research UK has today published a new study which estimates that more than 135,000 cases of cancer in the UK could be prevented every year. 54,000 cancer cases a year are due to smoking, which causes over twice as many cancers as the next biggest preventable risk factor, obesity. [1]

ASH welcomes this new study, which highlights the benefits of quitting smoking. However, more needs to be done to address the inequalities that lie at the root of many of the risk factors identified.

Deborah Arnott, ASH Chief Executive, said:

“If we are serious about preventing cancer, smoking remains the number one priority. This study shows that smoking is still the leading cause of preventable cancer in the UK, with 54,400 new diagnoses every year. It is shocking that against this backdrop, stop smoking services continue to be among the hardest hit by funding cuts and the NHS is not doing anywhere near enough to help smokers quit.” [2] [3]

Notes and Links:

Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see:

ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

ASH staff are available for interview and have an ISDN line. For more information   contact ASH on 020 7404 0242 or out of hours Deborah Arnott on 07976 935 987 or Hazel Cheeseman on 07754 358 593.


[1] Brown et al. The fraction of cancer attributable to known risk factors in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the UK overall in 2015. British Journal of Cancer. DOI: 10.1038/s41416-018-0029-6

[2]  ‘Feeling the heat: The decline of Stop Smoking Services in England’ research undertaken by ASH commissioned by Cancer Research UK. Findings from a survey of Local Authorities with public health budgets. Survey work undertaken July – September 2017.

[3] Smoking cessation policy and practice in NHS hospitals. British Thoracic Society, December 2016