Mortality Statistics 2014

The Mortality Statistics for 2014 have been published by the Office of National Statistics. Once again, I have tallied up the stats for lung cancer deaths. The only one of interest is deaths from cancers of ‘trachea, bronchus and lung’. Even that group is very wide. There are ‘small cell carcinomas’ and ‘non-small cell carcinomas’. It seems that ‘smoking related’ carcinomas are of the ‘small cell’ type. Nat Stats are not sufficiently specific for detailed certainty.

Even so, it is worth looking at what has been happening to lung cancer deaths.

But first, readers should look at this chart:

smokingrate-uk

We novices have difficulties interpreting such charts. But we have to try. So let’s work it out.

The first chart:

In 1950, 80% of those aged between 35 and 59 smoked. By 1970, that ratio had dropped to 70%. By 1980, it had dropped to about 55%, and by 1990, it was about 40%. We must remember that some people who who were originally in that age group will have moved into the older group, but that does not matter. What we are looking at is a snapshot at a specific date. So what we are seeing in that chart is a fairly regular fall in the percentage of people who smoke. The second chart concerns those people who were 60+ at the relevant dates. There is not much difference in the male line – smoking prevalence reduced somewhat further for that group, but not a lot.

The female line is a bit different. As you can see, the snapshot at 1950 was that 40% of females between 35 and 59 smoked. The snapshot at 1970 was that 50% of females smoked, and then prevalence fell to about 33% by 1990.  The snapshot of older females is a bit odd. It bucks the trend. It is not a lot short of flat – about 22% in 1950, rising to 25% in 1970 and falling to 16% in 2000.

But the charts overall show a drastic fall in smoking prevalence from around 70% for men and from about 50% for women from 1970 onwards.

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I said to start with:

The only one of interest is deaths from cancers of ‘trachea, bronchus and lung’. Even that group is very wide. There are ‘small cell carcinomas’ and ‘non-small cell carcinomas’. It seems that ‘smoking related’ carcinomas are of the ‘small cell’ type. Nat Stats are not sufficiently specific for detailed certainty.

Thus, making comparisons between smoking prevalence and lung cancer is crude for lack of detail. But is it not true that Doll’s ‘Hospital Study’ and his ‘Doctors Study’ were equally crude? In those studies, he did not differentiate between the different types of LC. He just compared the crude figures for LC between smokers and non-smokers. He found a much greater prevalence of crude LC among smokers than non-smokers.

The fault, of course, was the concentration upon smoking. What other factors were involved?

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I must draw attention to one of the most important claims that Doll made. That was that there was ‘a delay factor’. A person who started smoking at, say, the age of 20, would be damaging his lungs with every cig that he smoked. The more he smoked and the longer he smoked, the sooner that he would get LC. Erm…. I’m not sure that that was a claim. Rather, the claim was that there was ‘a delay factor’. Start smoking at 20 and 30, 40, 50 years later you might get LC. However, I have seen no evidence, of a scientific nature that supports that conjecture. Why should cells of the epithelium of the bronchus replace themselves at least every 7 years, and ‘remember’ past insults? There is no scientific evidence that cells DO NOT become cancer cells merely as a result of old age. ‘Old age’ does not necessarily mean old in years. Some people age faster than others. Some people have grey hair by the time they are 50, but others show little grey hair even at 70. Some people are tottering about using zimmer frames at the age of 70 while others are still playing 18 holes of golf.

I must press on.

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Some time ago, I investigated lung cancer deaths and posted about them. It seemed to me that such deaths had not ‘kept pace’ with the reduction in smoking since 1970. That is, were smoking the cause of LC, then the incidence of death therefrom should have fallen in step with the reduction in smoking prevalence.

To some extent, it seems to have been so.

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Regular readers might remember that I produced some statistics about LC deaths over the decades since 1970. The figures were taken from Nat Stats. Here is the first:

MALE LUNG CANCER DEATHS.

Year………LC deaths…….% of total deaths……% of all cancer deaths.

2000……..17,700……………6.93……………………………..25.39.

2006……..16,700……………6.93……………………………..23.00.

2011………16,700……………7.11………………………………22.18.

We can now add 2014 figures:

2014……..17,000…………..6.93……………………………..22.25.

Thus, during the 15 years from 2000 to 2014, the percentage change in LC deaths as a portion of all deaths (middle column) has hardly changed at all. But should not the collapse in smoking prevalence between, say, 1970 and 1990, be now showing a great diminution in male LC deaths? Smoking diminished hugely between 1970 and 2000, but LC deaths have only slightly diminished.

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Now let’s look at the female trend.

FEMALE LUNG CANCER DEATHS.

Year………LC deaths…….% of total deaths……% of all cancer deaths.

2000……..10,850……………3.87……………………………..16.69.

2006……..12,200……………4.66……………………………..18.43.

2011………13,100…………….5.25……………………………..19.31.

We can now add 2014 figures:

2014…….13,900……………5.42………………………………20.68.

Can I remind you to look at the female charts above. Since 1970, progressively fewer females have smoked. That is over a period of 45 years (1970 to 2015). And yet LC deaths among females have grown and grown.

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Finally for tonight, I saw a statement which said that the increase in female LCs is due to a blip in female smoking around 1970. Unfortunately, at this time of night, I cannot be bothered finding the link. I shall do so tomorrow.

Lies upon lies upon lies.

 

 

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6 Responses to “Mortality Statistics 2014”

  1. Some French bloke Says:

    the increase in female LCs is due to a blip in female smoking around 1970.

    They also came up with a theory that for some decades, while ‘small cell carcinomas’ remained the chief type of LC in men, others, like ‘non-small cell carcinomas’ became more and more prevalent in women, pointing to another, unknown environmental cause, which would have largely – and untypically – spared the “male of the species”…
    And since the WHO et al have already and once and for all pronounced that smoking is “the only preventable cause of LC”, how can an unknown cause be declared non-preventable? There doesn’t seem to be a lot of research going on about that mysterious new environmental factor…
    In other articles trying to explain that inconvenient rise in female rates of LC, they went as far as accusing women of having started to smoke “on the sly”, or even in a more ‘intense’ manner than men did since the 1970s, which would imply that at the same time, men became more cautious and heedful of “health” advice, even though they didn’t have to cope with the extra psychological pressure of those claims about the impact of “smoking during pregnancy”.
    Another likely story!

    • junican Says:

      Good points, SFB. By the way, can I suggest that you capitalise the B in ‘bloke’?
      But there is no evidence for what you suggest, nor will there be any such. The only evidence that TCI accepts is that evidence which it originates. Thus, PP in Australia is wonderful, despite the blatantly obvious failure of that legislation to deter smokers.

      • Some French bloke Says:

        despite the blatantly obvious failure of that legislation to deter smokers

        And despite the even more blatant lack of evidence that tobacco control can curb lung cancer prevalence…

  2. michaeljmcfadden Says:

    An interesting addendum to this is the oft-repeated statistic from numerous antismoking groups and sources is the once a person quits smoking their lung cancer risk is cut in half after 10 (or is it 15? I think 10.) years. Of course that claim never fit too well with their popular graph showing the LC rates PRECISELY mimicking the smoking rates with a *20* year time lag, but a foolish consistency has never been a particular hobgoblin of what passes for antismoking minds.

    – MJM

    • junican Says:

      The point is, MJM, that the time-lag is an artificial construct. It comes from a circular argument. There is no physical or scientific evidence that such an affect is true.
      The circular argument depends upon ignorance. It goes like this:

      “There is no doubt that a smoker will almost certainly get LC, therefore precisely when he gets LC does not matter since he will succumb eventually. The only escape is to die before he gets LC”.

      The argument depends upon the unproven assertion that smoking causes LC.
      Thus, the argument fails for lack of proof that smoking causes LC.
      The McTear Case applies.

    • nisakiman Says:

      I seem to remember reading, Michael, that people who gave up smoking actually had a much higher risk of developing LC. I t was in an article form either somewhere in Canada (Sasakatchewan?), or could have been Alaska. It was a while ago, and I don’t remember. foolishly I didn’t bookmark it, but I’ll try to track it down. However, the raised risk, according to this article, was in the region of 60%.

      I must try to find it again…

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