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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 408104, 8 pages
Review Article

Tobacco and the Escalating Global Cancer Burden

Department of Surgery, The University of Texas Health Science Center, Mail Code 7738, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA

Received 14 December 2010; Revised 28 March 2011; Accepted 10 May 2011

Academic Editor: Venkateshwar Keshamouni

Copyright © 2011 Richard F. Oppeltz and Ismail Jatoi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The global burden of cancer is escalating as a result of dramatic increases in the use of tobacco in the developing world. The use of tobacco is linked to the development of a broad variety of cancers, mainly lung cancer, the single most common cancer in the world. Tobacco smoking-attributable deaths extends beyond cancer and include stroke, heart attack and COPD. Widening disparities in cancer-related mortality have shifted towards a more dramatic burden in the developing world. Appropriate interventions must be implemented to reduce tobacco use and prevent global mortality that has escalated to epidemic levels. Tobacco control policies, including public health advertisement campaigns, warning labels, adoption of smoke-free laws, comprehensive bans and tax policies are highly effective measures to control tobacco use. Clinicians and academic institutions have to be actively committed to support tobacco control initiatives. The reduction in cancer related morbidity and mortality should be viewed as a global crisis and definitive results will depend on a multilevel effort to effectively reduce the burden of cancer, particularly in underprivileged regions of the world.