Smoking-related cancer higher in lower income groups

NEARLY twice as many cases of cancer in England have been linked to smoking in the lowest income group compared to the highest, according recent data from Cancer Research UK.

The organisation estimates that over 11,000 cases of cancer were linked to smoking in the lowest income group compared to around 6,000 in the highest.

The study also found that around 27,000 cases of cancer a year in England are associated with poverty or deprivation, and people living in more deprived areas are 2.5 times more likely to smoke than those in least deprived.

The researchers further estimate that of the 27,000 cases of cancer caused by deprivation, around 5,500 of these cases could have been prevented each year if smoking inequalities were removed and smoking rates were the same for everyone.

Public health expert, Professor Linda Bauld commented: "Smoking has accounted for more deaths than Covid-19 in the past year. Public health and prevention services play a vital role in tackling health inequalities as well as improving health and wellbeing across England. This has come into even sharper focus since the pandemic, which has exposed where investment in these services has fallen behind."

Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, Michelle Mitchell believes this needs to be addressed. "Funding for tobacco control activities in England has been significantly cut in recent years, which will undermine the Government’s Smokefree 2030 goal unless this is urgently reversed."

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