Tackling smoking key to progress on cutting cancer deaths.

Friday 19 March 2004

ASH news release: Embargo: 00:01 Friday 19th March 2004


Tackling Smoking Key to Progress on Cutting Cancer Deaths

Commenting on the National Audit Office report on cancer published today [1], tobacco control pressure group ASH warned that tackling smoking must remain key to continuing progress on cutting cancer deaths.   The report shows that despite a rise in the incidence of cancer, improvements in detection and treatment mean that more people are surviving.


But lung cancer, almost exclusively caused by smoking, is one of the most difficult cancers to treat, with fewer than a tenth of lung cancer victims surviving more than five years after diagnosis. Almost one third of all cancers are caused by smoking. These cancers could be prevented if more people were given the help they need to stop smoking or never took up the habit in the first place.


ASH Director Deborah Arnott commented:


“Stopping smoking is the single most important lifestyle change anyone can take to prevent cancer. The NAO report points to good progress in treatment, but prevention remains one of the biggest challenges for the Government to tackle. Specialist stop smoking services must be maintained and must be accessible, particularly to low-income groups who are more likely to smoke.


As the Wanless Review of public health policy showed, a range of measures are needed to cut smoking rates. Top of the list is the introduction of smoke-free workplaces, which could cut the proportion of adults smoking by 4%, resulting in 1.6 million fewer smokers, according to Wanless. The forthcoming Public Health White Paper is an ideal opportunity for the Government to include proven measures to cut smoking and to prevent thousands of cancer deaths.”.



Notes and links:

[1] “Tackling cancer in England: saving more lives.” National Audit Office, March 2004.



Contact: Deborah Arnott 020 7739 5902 (w) 079 7693 5987 (m) ISDN available