CDC: Tobacco use behind 40 percent of cancers - CBS46 News

CDC: Tobacco use behind 40 percent of cancers

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New data links tobacco use to 40 percent of all cancer cases in the US.

A new report from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control details the data and states that tobacco use causes at least 12 types of cancers and smoking causes about a third of all cancer deaths.

“My dad, he smoked for I think 60 years… my dad died from that and I don’t want to go the same route,” former smoker and Alpharetta businessman Karl Forssman told CBS46 Thursday.

“I started smoking 17, 18 because it was cool and then you get hooked of course,” Forssman said.

He tried to quit a number of times over three decades.

“I did try when my kids were born, tried with acupuncture, Forssman said.

He quit one more time through the use of nicotine gum before he finally succeeded because of a bet with a colleague and help from tobacco packets.

His struggle is echoed by a third of smokers: every year, one-in-three adult smokers try to quit but only one-in-ten succeed.

“You have to want to, it’s a question of willpower,” Forssman asserted.

Smoking down, but still pervasive

Smoking in the US has declined to its lowest level since the CDC started tracking smokers in 1965 but about 15 percent of the population still smokes, an estimated 36.5 million people. 

“We are very concerned of a certain segment of the population,” contended Dr. Ioana Bonta, a Medical Oncologist at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Newnan.

Those segments include men, African Americans, people living in counties with low education and people living in counties with high poverty who appear to suffer from higher rates of tobacco-related cancers. 

“When you think of what it the main risk factor for cancer, you think of smoking,” shared Dr. Bonta. 

While cigarette use is down, the CDC worries about the rise in popularity of other ways to smoke tobacco like cigars, pipes, and hookah.

If you want to quit, getting help through counseling or medications can double or triple your chances. For free assistance, call 1-800-quit-now or go to

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