Nature Reviews Cancer 1, 82-86 (October 2001) | doi:10.1038/35094091

TimelineTobacco and the global lung cancer epidemic

Robert N. Proctor1  About the author


Tobacco is the world's single most avoidable cause of death. The World Health Organization has calculated that the 5.6 trillion cigarettes smoked per year at the close of the twentieth century will cause nearly 10 million fatalities per year by 2030. Lung cancer is the most common tobacco-related cause of cancer mortality, with one case being produced for every 3 million cigarettes smoked. How was the global lung cancer epidemic recognized, and what can we expect in the future?

Author affiliations

  1. Robert N. Proctor is in the Department of History, Pennsylvania State University, Weaver Building, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA.