Austin | Dallas | Houston
Good news

Rice and M.D. Anderson study proves that anti-smoking programs save lives

Enlarge
Slideshow
News_cigarette smoke_smoking
New research proves that anti-smoking programs work.  File photo
News_Rice University_cigarette smoking_chart
Data looked at rates of lung cancer deaths among men... Courtesy of National Cancer Institute
News_Rice University_smoking cigarettes_Marek Kimmel
Study co-author Marek Kimmel, professor of statistics at Rice University, said, "It's obvious that the less you smoke, the less likely you are to get lung cancer." Courtesy of Rice University
News_cigarette smoke_smoking
News_Rice University_cigarette smoking_chart
News_Rice University_cigarette smoking_chart
News_Rice University_smoking cigarettes_Marek Kimmel

Tax hikes on packages of cigarettes, bans on lighting up in public places, age restrictions and those graphic anti-smoking ads might sometimes seem a bit excessive, but research published Wednesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute proves that these anti-smoking measures have made a tangible difference. 

 "Researchers estimated that without tobacco-control programs and policies, an additional 552,000 men and 243,000 women would have died of lung cancer from 1975 through 2000."

 A study conducted by experts at Rice University, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute, proves that tobacco control programs — implemented after the U.S. Surgeon General's 1964 Report on Smoking and Health — have prevented more than 795,000 deaths by lung cancer between 1975 and 2000. 

According to a press release, the research team "used a comparative modeling approach in which they constructed detailed cigarette smoking histories for people born from 1890 through 1970, and then related the histories to lung cancer mortality in mathematical models."

Pitting actual figures against two other scenarios (projected smoking behaviors if no programs had been initiated, as well as a model scenario of complete smoking cessation post-1965), the "researchers estimated that without tobacco-control programs and policies, an additional 552,000 men and 243,000 women would have died of lung cancer from 1975 through 2000."

Experts attribute more than 80 percent of lung cancers to smoking. Though the research proves that anti-smoking measures haven't been perfectly successful — lung cancer would have claimed an estimated 2.5 million fewer casualties if smoking had stopped in the U.S. completely after 1965 — it is encouraging to see that, at least sometimes, programs work.

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Houston news, views + events

The Dining Report

News you can eat

Insider Offers

Curated experiences at exclusive prices

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address