In order to compare the impact of tobacco on cancer risk across different regions of the world, we abstracted the estimated adult (age 30 years and above) deaths attributable to tobacco for all-malignant neoplasm, trachea, bronchus and lung cancer, and all other malignant neoplasms from the WHO Global Report entitled Mortality Attributable to Tobacco, which was recently published in 2012. In this publication, the WHO region and the country-specific death rate per 100 000 and proportion attributable to tobacco (%) in 2004 are available by age and sex. We selected for evaluation all-malignant neoplasm (ICD-10 code: C00–97), trachea, bronchus and lung cancer (C33–34) and all other malignant neoplasms (C00–97 except for C33–34).

Figures 1 and 2 show the overall death rates and death rates attributable to tobacco by region for all-malignant neoplasm, trachea, bronchus and lung cancer, and all other malignant neoplasms in males and females, respectively. Crude rates and the proportion of mortality attributable to tobacco are presented.

Figure 1.

Death rates (per 100 000) and proportion attributable to tobacco for males. Each bar shows the death rate by region and each black bar shows the death rate attributable to tobacco. The numbers on bars are the proportion of deaths attributable to tobacco.

Figure 1.

Death rates (per 100 000) and proportion attributable to tobacco for males. Each bar shows the death rate by region and each black bar shows the death rate attributable to tobacco. The numbers on bars are the proportion of deaths attributable to tobacco.

Figure 2.

Death rates (per 100 000) and proportion attributable to tobacco for females. Each bar shows the death rate by region and each black bar shows the death rate attributable to tobacco. The numbers on bars are the proportion of deaths attributable to tobacco.

Figure 2.

Death rates (per 100 000) and proportion attributable to tobacco for females. Each bar shows the death rate by region and each black bar shows the death rate attributable to tobacco. The numbers on bars are the proportion of deaths attributable to tobacco.

For males, the death rate and proportion of tobacco-related death for all-malignant neoplasm was the highest in Europe and the lowest in Africa. In other regions, the death rates were similar. For trachea, bronchus and lung cancer, as well as the trend for all-malignant neoplasm, the death rate attributable to tobacco was the highest in Europe and the lowest in Africa. The proportions of deaths for trachea, bronchus and lung cancer attributable to tobacco were comparably higher than those for all other malignant neoplasms; the proportion for trachea, bronchus and lung cancer ranged from 63% in Western Pacific to 92% in Europe, while for all other malignant neoplasms it ranged from 8% in Africa to 25% in South-east Asia. The tobacco-related death rate for all other malignant neoplasms was also the highest in Europe and the lowest in Africa.

For females, the highest rates of tobacco-related deaths were observed in America for trachea, bronchus and lung cancer. America showed the highest proportions of tobacco-related deaths for trachea, bronchus and lung cancer at 79%, followed by Europe at 62%. In other regions, the proportions were not as high as those for males, <50%.

Africa and the Mediterranean showed the lowest proportions of tobacco-related death and the lowest death rates both for trachea, bronchus and lung cancer, and all other malignant neoplasms.