Smoking and lung cancer—70 long years on

Last week marked the 70th anniversary of the UK government recognizing that smoking causes lung cancer. Cases of lung cancer had increased significantly since the end of World War I, and epidemiological work by Richard Doll and Austin Bradford Hill solidified the link between smoking and the disease. The response to this risk was muted, and smoking rates remained high for decades. The economic costs of smoking, including health care expenses and lost productivity, far outweigh the tax revenue from tobacco sales. However, there is hope for a “tobacco endgame” with policies in place to raise the legal age of tobacco sales and create a smoke-free generation with cross-party support. Hopkinson, chair of Action on Smoking and Health ASH(UK), emphasizes the need for these policies to address the impact of smoking on public health.

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