Small area mapping of domestic radon, smoking prevalence and lung cancer incidence - A case study in Northamptonshire, UK

Antony R. Denman, Stephen Rogers, Akeem Ali, John Sinclair, Paul S. Phillips, Robin G.M. Crockett, Christopher J. Groves-Kirkby

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


Smoking and radon both cause lung cancer, and together the risk is significantly higher. UK public health campaigns continue to reduce smoking prevalence, and other initiatives identify houses with raised radon (radon-222) levels and encourage remedial action. Smoking prevalence and radon levels in the UK have been mapped at Primary Care Trust level. This paper extends that work, using a commercial socio-demographic database to estimate smoking prevalence at the postcode sector level, and to predict the population characteristics at postcode sector level for 87 postcode sectors in Northamptonshire. Likely smoking prevalence in each postcode sector is then modelled from estimates of the smoking prevalence in the different socio-economic groups used by the database. Mapping estimated smoking prevalence, radon potential and average lung cancer incidence for each postcode sector suggested that there was little correlation between smoking prevalence and radon levels, as radon potential was generally lower in urban areas in Northamptonshire, where the estimates of smoking prevalence were highest. However, the analysis demonstrated some sectors where both radon potential and smoking prevalence were moderately raised. This study showed the potential of this methodology to map estimated smoking prevalence and radon levels to inform locally targeted public health campaigns to reduce lung cancer incidence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-169
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2015



  • Public health policy
  • Radon-222
  • Small area mapping
  • Smoking prevalence
  • Socio-demographic database

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