Cancers in Australia in 2010 attributable to tobacco smoke

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To estimate the population attributable fraction (PAF) and numbers of cancers occurring in Australia in 2010 attributable to tobacco smoking, both personal and by a partner.


We used a modified Peto-Lopez approach to calculate the difference between the number of lung cancer cases observed and the number expected assuming the entire population developed lung cancer at the same rate as never smokers. For cancers other than lung, we applied the standard PAF formula using relative risks from a large cohort and derived notional smoking prevalence. To estimate the PAF for partners' smoking, we used the standard formula incorporating the proportion of non-smoking Australians living with an ever-smoking partner and relative risks associated with partner smoking.


An estimated 15,525 (13%) cancers in Australia in 2010 were attributable to tobacco smoke, including 8,324 (81%) lung, 1,973 (59%) oral cavity and pharynx, 855 (60%) oesophagus and 951 (6%) colorectal cancers. Of these, 136 lung cancers in non-smokers were attributable to partner tobacco smoke.


More than one in eight cancers in Australia is attributable to tobacco smoking and would be avoided if nobody smoked.


Strategies to reduce the prevalence of smoking remain a high priority for cancer control.

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