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Burden of lung cancer deaths due to smoking for men and women in the WHO Western Pacific and South East Asian regions

journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2010, 00:00 authored by A Martiniuk, C M Y Lee, M Woodward, Rachel HuxleyRachel Huxley
Introduction: Eighty percent of all smokers live in low and middle-income countries of the Asia Pacific region but actual estimates of the burden of disease due to smoking in the region have yet to be quantified. Methods: The burden of lung cancer due to smoking for all countries in the WHO Western Pacific and South East Asian regions was calculated from the population attributable fractions (PAFs). Nationally representative sex-specific prevalences of smoking were obtained from the World Health Organization, MEDLINE and/or national government documents and hazard ratios (HR) for lung cancer due to smoking in Asian and non-Asian populations were obtained from published data. The HR and prevalence were then used to calculate PAFs for lung cancer deaths due to smoking, by gender and by country. Results: The national prevalence of smoking in the Asia Pacific region ranged from 18-65% in men and from 0-50% in women. The fraction of lung cancer deaths attributable to smoking ranged from 0-40% in Asian women and from 21-49% in Asian men. In ANZ, PAFs were as high as 80% for women and 68% for men. Future estimates of the burden of smoking-related lung cancer in Asia were obtained by assuming a continuation of current smoking habits in these populations. Extrapolating the higher HR from the ANZ region to Asia, resulted in an increase in the PAFs to 4-90% in women and from 62-85% in men. Conclusion: The current burden of lung-cancer due to smoking in the Asia-Pacific region is substantial accounting for up to 50% of deaths from the disease in men and up to 40% in women depending on the country. If current smoking habits in Asia remain unchanged then the number of people dying from smoking-related lung cancer over the next couple of decades is expected to double. It is known that the majority of lung cancer is due to smoking. This is the first paper to systematically compare current burdens of lung cancer deaths due to smoking in countries in the Western Pacific and South East Asia and by gender. Findings from this paper demonstrate the number of lung cancer deaths that could be prevented if the prevalence of smoking was eliminated.



Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention






67 - 72


Asian Pacific Organization for Cancer Prevention


Tehran, Iran







Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal