Smokers Comprise Only 20% of Lung Cancer Rates

Originally published June 30, 2011

H/T to Juliette Tworsey.

The Lung Cancer Alliance states that in 2010 there were over 157,000 lung cancer deaths, and that 80% of these were non-smokers or ex-smokers – meaning a measly 20% were active smokers.

One of my main arguments against the smoking/lung cancer hypothesis has long been that smoking was so common, so prevalent, not that long ago that it’s impossible to really discern much about it simply because we have too little information about non-smokers. For example, if 80% of the population smoke (as they once did) then it’s an absolute certainty any disease will have a higher ‘relationship’ link with smoking, and it is impossible to know if any given individual would have suffered from a disease had they not smoked.

We are now at a time when non-smokers are the majority, so it is really only around this point in time that we are able to compare smoking prevalence and disease rates with any degree of accuracy. And, while I won’t (yet) say “I told you so”, the evidence is certainly agreeing with my thinking. Take the recent COPD study which found 93% of the COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, i.e. chronic bronchitis and emphysema) sufferers were non-smokers.

The biggest issue here is that lung cancer and emphysema have in particular been considered “smokers’ diseases”, that non-smokers just don’t get. The truth of the matter though is that non-smokers can and do get any and every disease that smokers get. It’s easy to show a statistical link between smoking and any disease when most people smoke; however, the hypothesis has holes poked into it when smoking rates decline to a fraction of what they once were and the disease rates now start to inflict non-smokers instead. And this is unquestionably what is happening, which suggests that smoking did not cause either of them – the diseases exist and afflict regardless.

The crux of the problem though is that we are so convinced smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, and COPD, that all money and efforts are directed into lowering smoking rates rather than focusing on the disease itself. Indeed, the Lung Cancer Alliance have stated that lung cancer remains one of the deadliest forms of cancer precisely because it isn’t receiving funding. Why isn’t it getting the funding? Because we’re so concerned with smoking that the suggestion there may be other possible factors and causes at play seems ludicrous, or if that suggestion is accepted it’s usually met with “yes but smoking is the biggest factor so it deserves the attention.”

With the smoking rates much lower than they were some 40 years ago, we are now in a time when the real picture will begin to emerge. Fabricated numbers and bogus studies will continue, but they will not be able to ignore or hide increases in the number of “smokers’ diseases” afflicting non-smokers, which seems to be happening as of late.

2 thoughts on “Smokers Comprise Only 20% of Lung Cancer Rates”

  1. Original comments:

    Added by Thulium (Thad Marney)
    July 1, 2011

    I think a lot of focus is rightfully aimed at “smoking” because it involved intentionally prolonged exposure to known carcinogenic byproducts of combustion. It is a fairly simple matter to count the number of cigarettes smoked or amount of time exposed to secondhand smoke, but how do you measure the average exposure to smoke from automobiles, industrial pollution, or anything else that involves combustion?

    If the focus was on actually reducing smoking, public health organizations would be promoting the use of smokeless as “safer tobacco” the way that “safer sex” was promoted in the 80’s. Instead, the focus has been on the demonization of tobacco: The act of smoking is treated as if it is guilty by its association to tobacco rather than tobacco being guilty by its association to smoking.

    Reducing exposure to the byproducts of combustion from smoking is a legitimate way to prevent cancer; but even if current efforts to abolish tobacco use were actually successful, many people will still be exposed to carcinogenic byproducts of combustion in the air they breathe. Further, with emerging studies pointing to genetic and viral causes of cancer, it is likely that lung cancers would continue even if it were possible to completely prevent all exposure to the byproducts of combustion–from smoking tobacco or anything else.

    Added by nisakiman
    July 3, 2011

    “we are now in a time when the real picture will begin to emerge. Fabricated numbers and bogus studies will continue, but they will not be able to ignore or hide increases in the number of “smokers’ diseases” afflicting non-smokers, which seems to be happening as of late.”

    I’m rather afraid it will now all be attributed to that deadly killer, “second-hand smoke”. They won’t give up easily, not now they have got the momentum.

    Added by Anonymous
    July 4, 2011

    It is obvious the common denominator for lung cancer is not smoking. There is so much false information about what is healthy and what isn’t because of the many vested interests in profits, including big pharma, medical, food industry, government, etc.

    The fact is that in order for lung cell membranes to be healthy they must be constructed out of 100% saturated fat, the very fats that have been demonized by the cholesterol scam. So lung disease today is actually caused by the lack of saturated fats that our ancestors had, i.e. butter, lard, coconut oil, etc.

    So go figure.

    Added by Anonymous
    July 8, 2011

    Are ex smokers are more, or less, susceptible to LC than never smokers? I think I read that ex smokers are more at risk than smokers, particularly in the first few post quit years.

    Added by Skelm (Alice Tromm)
    January 5, 2012

    ,Worked in Old Age homes and everybody of 80 and 90+ years old, have smoked in their life’s. Some still smoke but then outside..

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