Lung cancer rates decline in California

San Diego, CA (September 16, 2011)

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control shows lung cancer rates are declining nationwide. California is one of the states that's led the way.

Smoking rates in California and the west are much lower than in other parts of the country. The CDC says, correspondingly, the incidence of lung cancer is declining more rapidly in the west.

Debra Kelley is with the San Diego chapter of the American Lung Association. She said California's aggressive tobacco control measures have made a difference, and anti-smoking campaigns are important for continuing the decline.

"If we don't continue to invest in these programs," Kelley warned. "Then our smoking rates are going to plateau at best, and perhaps even go up at worst, and we're gonna see a concomitant issue with lung cancer rates."

Kelley said California should raise its tobacco tax to provide more money for anti-smoking campaigns. Once the highest such tax in the country, it now stands below the national average.

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