The government is considering plans to strip all branding from cigarette packs sold in England, as recent figures show that lung cancer cases continue to rise in UK women.
According to figures from Cancer Research UK, more than 18,000 women were diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK in 2009, compared with fewer than 8,000 in 1975. This means the lung cancer incidence has risen from 22 per 100,000 women in 1975 to 39 per 100,000 women.
The liung cancer incidence in UK women is rising
More than 80 per cent of these cases are linked to tobacco. Smoking rates for women in Britain were highest during the 1960s, with 45 per cent of women smoking. Although only 20 per cent of UK women smoke now, the lung case rises reflects the smoking rates two to three decades ago.
In contrast, lung cancer rates in UK men are now falling. The lung cancer incidence was 110 per 100,000 men in 1975, and is now just under 59 per 100,000 men. Male smoking rates peaked at 65 per cent during WWII, and the lung cancer rate peaked three decades later. Now, 22 per cent of men are smokers.
Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK's information director, said: “it's never too late to give up smoking - you will reduce your risk of developing lung cancer and other serious diseases."
As Cancer Research releases these figures, the government is considering plans to strip all branding from cigarette packs sold in England to make smoking less attractive. The government plans to launch its consultation on the issue on Monday.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "We don't want to work in partnership with the tobacco companies because we are trying to arrive at a point where they have no business in this country."
Australia recently became the first country in the world to agree to plain packaging on cigarette packs.
Ministers in the UK have promised to reduce the number of adult smokers to 18.5 per cent by 2015. A rule on plain packaging would follow a ban on tobacco displays in large shops and bans on vending machine sales.
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