Future initiatives to reduce lung cancer incidence in the United Kingdom: Smoking cessation, radon remediation and the impact of social change

Antony R. Denman, Stephen Rogers, Karen Timson, Paul S. Phillips, Robin G.M. Crockett, Christopher J. Groves-Kirkby

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Copyright © Royal Society for Public Health 2014. Aims:Smoking and radon cause lung cancer, with smoking being the more significant risk factor. Although programmes to identify UK houses with raised radon levels and to encourage remedial action started in 1990, uptake has been limited and those most at risk, smokers and young families, are not being reached. The risks from smoking and radon are multiplicative. Public health campaigns have reduced smoking prevalence significantly. Since most radon-induced lung cancers occur in smokers, reducing the number of smokers will reduce the number of radon-induced lung cancers. This article considers the impact of reducing smoking prevalence on the effectiveness of radon remediation programmes, combining this with demographic trends and regional variations to assess implications for future public health. Methods: Results on cost-effectiveness of smoking cessation and radon remediation programmes were combined with government figures for smoking prevalence to estimate the number of cancers averted and the cost-effectiveness of such programmes, taking into account demographic changes, including increasing life expectancy. Regional variations in smoking prevalence and smoking cessation programmes were reviewed, comparing these to the geographic variation of radon. Results: The continuing impact of smoking cessation programmes in reducing smoking prevalence will reduce the number of radon-induced lung cancers, but with a lag. Smoking cessation programmes are more cost-effective than radon remediation programmes, presenting an additional opportunity to reduce radon risk to smokers. Regional data show no correlation between smoking prevalence and radon levels. Conclusions: Reduced smoking prevalence reduces the effectiveness of radon remediation programmes. This, coupled with limited uptake of radon remediation, suggests that radon remediation programmes should be targeted, and that an integrated public health policy for smoking and radon is appropriate. Lack of correlation between smoking prevalence and radon suggests that local assessment of relative priorities for public health strategies, such as the 'Total Place' initiative, is appropriate.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)92-101
    Number of pages10
    JournalPerspectives in Public Health
    Volume135
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2015

    Keywords

    • cost-effectiveness
    • lung cancer
    • public health strategy
    • radon
    • smoking
    • smoking cessation

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