Active smoking is causally associated with cancers of the lung, larynx, oral cavity, pharynx, oesophagus, pancreas, renal parenchyma, renal pelvis and urinary bladder, and passive smoking appears to be causally associated with cancer of the lung. Information on smoking habits for the years 1965, 1975 and 1985 shows that more men than women in the Nordic countries were current smokers. The rates of women were stable over time and those of men were decreasing, approaching those of women. Lung cancer, in particular, is strongly associated with active smoking: by increasing the number of cigarettes smoked per day (lifelong) to 5, 10, 20 and 40 or more, the risk increases by five‐, eight‐, 16‐ and 30‐fold, respectively, over that of people who have never smoked. Thus, with approximately 35% current smokers and 25% former smokers among Nordic men in 1985 and approximately 30% current smokers and 15% former smokers among Nordic women in that year, by the year 2000 10,000 cases of lung cancer (6,500 in men and 3,500 in women) will be caused by active smoking; this is equivalent to 82% of all cases of lung cancer in these populations. Another 6,000 cancers of other types (4,000 in men and 2,000 in women) are caused annually by active smoking, yielding a total of 16,000 new cases each year around the turn of the century. This implies that 14% (19% in men and 9% in women) of all incident cancers in the Nordic countries around the year 2000 will be caused by active tobacco smoking. In comparison, passive smoking is a minor cause of lung cancer, responsible for approximately 0.6% of all new cases (approximately 70 cases annually) in this area around the turn of the century.
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