WOMEN across the borough are being warned of the dangers of smoking after it was revealed that lung cancer is responsible for more deaths than breast cancer.
Studies across Europe have confirmed what is already known to be the case in Britain, that lung cancer is one of the biggest causes of death among women, prompting Wigan health chiefs to issues fresh warnings about the dangers of smoking.
The rise reflects a surge in the number of women who started smoking in the 1960s and 1970s, the experts say.
Dr Kate Ardern, executive director of public health for the borough of Wigan, said: “The rise in the numbers of women dying from lung cancer has been rising in line with the increase in women smokers from the 1960s onwards.
“This is one of the many reasons why we have invested so heavily in the borough in providing help for smokers to become smoke free.
“The Million Women Study shows that smoking has an even worse effect on the health of women than we previously expected.
“However, there is some good news because the study also points out that women who stop smoking before the age of 40 (and preferably well before this age), will significantly reduce their risk of dying prematurely. I advise any women who smokes to phone the local Stop Smoking Service on free phone on 0500 7867 669 and get the support you need as soon as possible to stop smoking.”
The news has worried cancer charities.
Sarah Williams, of Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s encouraging to see that overall the rate of people dying from cancer in Europe is predicted to continue falling.
“This reflects improvements in what we know about how to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer and shows that through research we are making inroads against the disease.
“But deaths from lung cancer in women are still rising, reflecting smoking rates in previous decades, so sadly most of these deaths were avoidable.
“These figures underline the importance of reducing the number of people who smoke – both through helping smokers to quit and by introducing plain, standardised packaging to give young people one less reason to start.
“Every year 157,000 children in the UK alone, start smoking. We must try to stem that tide.”