90,000 cancer cases laid to smoking
Smoking causes an estimated 80,000 Japanese men and 8,000 Japanese women each year to develop cancer, according to a health ministry report, indicating the huge impact of smoking on public health.
Given the estimates released Friday by a study group of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, group members said about 90,000 people would have been spared from cancer had they not smoked and pointed out that smoking-induced cancer constitutes 20 percent of cancers in Japan.
In total, 280,000 men and 200,000 women develop cancer each year in Japan.
The group, led by Shoichiro Tsugane, who heads the cancer research and prevention division of the National Cancer Center, surveyed 90,000 men and women aged 40 to 69 over a period of eight to 11 years.
Of those surveyed, men who smoked were 1.6 times more likely to suffer from lung cancer than nonsmokers, ex-smokers were 1.4 times more likely, while women smokers and ex-smokers alike were 1.5 times more likely to contract the disease.
Smokers accounted for 46 percent of the men surveyed, while those who kicked the habit accounted for 28 percent. Among the women, the figures were 10 percent and 3 percent, respectively.
Estimating the overall occurrence of cancer based on the survey results, men suffering from cancer due to smoking amounted to 29 percent of those surveyed and women 4 percent.
However, the figures may not tell the whole story, as statistics on people who get lung cancer due to secondhand smoking were not included, panel members said.