Men in China face increasing tobacco-related cancer risks

September 02, 2015

In China, smoking now causes nearly a quarter of all cancers in adult males. The finding comes from a large study published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, as part of a Special Issue on Lung Cancer in China. High uptake rates of cigarette smoking in teenaged males and continued use in adulthood foreshadow even greater tobacco-related cancer risks for the nation.

Tobacco-related deaths have been declining steadily in most developed countries; however, China now produces and consumes about 40 percent of the world's cigarettes, with much of the rapid increase taking place since the early 1980s, involving almost exclusively only men.

To get a sense of the current smoking-related cancer risks in China, a research team led jointly by Professor Zhengming Chen, DPhil, of the University of Oxford in the UK and Professor Liming Li, MD, of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in China, analyzed data from a nationwide prospective study called the China Kadoorie Biobank, which recruited 210,259 men and 302,632 women aged 30 to 79 years from 10 areas of China from 2004 to 2008. The study recorded approximately 18,000 new cancers during seven years of follow-up.

Among the major findings: "The tobacco-related cancer risks among men are expected to increase substantially during the next few decades as a delayed effect of the recent rise in cigarette use, unless there is widespread cessation among adult smokers," the authors wrote. The study also noted that the first generation of men in China to experience the full extent of tobacco risks will probably be those who were born during the 1970s or 1980s, who reached adulthood when cigarette consumption was high. By contrast, this is the least exposure for the female generation in China. "If smoking rates remain low in women, tobacco may soon be responsible for most of the difference in life expectancy between men and women in China. Widespread smoking cessation offers China one of the most effective, and cost-effective, strategies for avoiding cancer and premature death over the next few decades" said Professor Zhengming Chen, the lead author and principal investigator of the China Kadoorie Biobank.
-end-


Wiley

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