Women Smokers Dying at Same Rate as Men (1/29/13)

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Smoke like a man, die like a man.

U.S. women who smoke today have a much greater risk of dying from lung cancer than they did decades ago, partly because they are starting younger and smoking more — that is, they are lighting up like men, new research shows.

Women also have caught up with men in their risk of dying from smoking-related illnesses. Lung cancer risk leveled off in the 1980s for men but is still rising for women.

"It's a massive failure in prevention," said one study leader, Dr. Michael Thun of the American Cancer Society. And it's likely to repeat itself in places like China and Indonesia where smoking is growing, he said. About 1.3 billion people worldwide smoke. The research is in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine. It is one of the most comprehensive looks ever at long-term trends in the effects of smoking and includes the first generation of U.S. women who started early in life and continued for decades, long enough for health effects to show up.

Read more: New York Daily News