Smoking rates have been declining across the United States -- and with them, so have lung cancer rates, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Men have been abandoning cigarettes at a steady clip over the last decade, with corresponding drops in the lung cancer rates -- 1.4% from 1999 to 2005, and 2.9% from 2005 to 2008.
The West led the charge, with a decline of 3.9% in men's lung cancer incidence from 2006 to 2008.
"Many of the states with the lowest lung cancer incidence, as well as smoking prevalence, were clustered in the West," thereport said.
Women's lung cancer rates had actually been on the rise, by 0.5%, from 1999 to 2006, before decreasing by 2.2% from 2006 to 2008. Though, to be fair, even though lung cancer rates are dropping faster in men, the disease affects far fewer women (per 100,000 people) to begin with.
Women quit in higher rates in the West and Northeast, but, according to the report, "Nearly half the states with higher smoking prevalence for women and more than a third of states with higher lung cancer incidence are in the South."
The CDC points to strong smoking cessation efforts as part of the reason both smoking rates and lung cancer rates have gone down.
"States that invest more fully in these programs, such as California, have experienced decreases in youth and adult smoking prevalence, decreases in lung cancer, and significant health-care savings," according to commentary accompanying the numbers.
Even though lung cancer rates are going down, it's still thecancer pantheon's most effective killer in the nation, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you or a loved one are trying to quit smoking, the first step is making a plan to do so.