Lung cancer deaths are up significantly in young and middle-age women in the South and Midwest, even as rates continue to fall nationwide, according to a new study, Reuters reported.
The findings, which appear in the latest edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, are based on research of more than one million women.
"Lung cancer follows the smoking pattern," the study's author Ahmedin Jemal told National Public Radio and those patterns are determined in part by how aggressive a state legislates against smoking.
NPR reported that for women born after 1933, rates of the disease have more than doubled in Alabama, while they have dropped by half in California.
For example, California had an "excise taxes on cigarettes and banned smoking" in bars and at work. States in the South and Midwest did not enforce non-smoking bans and taxes as aggressively.
Even more troubling is that in some southern states the rate of lung cancer deaths among middle-aged and young women is about double that of older women living there, according to Jemal.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates lung cancer now accounts for nearly one in four cancer deaths in the US, Reuters reported.
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