Objective: To update the epidemic curves for lung cancer in the United States by gender in relation to the temporal trends in adult current cigarette smoking prevalence.
Methods: The design of the study was ecologic, based on population figures. Available data on the prevalence of current cigarette smoking from 1920 to 1990 were plotted in conjunction with age-adjusted lung cancer mortality rates from 1930 to 1992 for each sex.
Results: There was a strong temporal relationship between the curves for cigarette smoking prevalence and lung cancer mortality rate with approximately a 30-year population latency period in both men and women. The curves occurred later in women than in men. The lung cancer rate in men peaked in 1990 and then began to decline while the rate in women continued to rise.
Conclusion: The temporal association between cigarette smoking prevalence and lung cancer mortality provides additional support for the causal relationship between smoking and lung cancer.