Lung cancer is a costly disease. It claims more lives in the U.S. than the next three most common types of cancer combined: colon, breast and pancreatic. And the chance of surviving lung cancer is equally disappointing — an underwhelming 16.6 percent, compared with 64.2 percent for colon cancer and 89.2 percent for breast cancer — calling for heightened attention to the deadly disease.
Not only is lung cancer physically and emotionally taxing, it also imposes an astounding financial toll on both the person it afflicts and the rest of society. According to the most recent National Institutes of Health estimates, the disease accounted for $12.1 billion of total cancer care costs in 2010. Five years earlier, premature deaths from lung cancer among adults aged 20 and older resulted in $36.1 billion in lost productivity.
Although many governments and organizations have implemented various measures, such as smoke-free bans and tobacco product regulations, to curb the prevalence of lung cancer, another 224,210 new patients were expected to be diagnosed with the illness this year alone.
Advancing the cause of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, WalletHub ranked the 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of their efforts to combat the expensive societal and economic impacts of the disease. We did so by analyzing 11 key metrics, ranging from air quality to death rates from lung cancer. Our findings, as well as additional insight from experts and a detailed methodology, can be found below.
“Favorable Environment for Avoiding Lung Cancer” Rank
“Lung Cancer Prevalence & Prevention” Rank
|2||District of Columbia||14||4|
The dangers of smoking aren’t limited to tobacco users. Users of public spaces can involuntarily suffer from the collateral effects of smoking in communal areas. To expand the discussion, we asked a panel of experts to share their advice on reining in the damaging effects of tobacco use and the prevalence of lung cancer. Click on the experts’ profiles to read their bios and responses to the following key questions:
Smoking is expensive. By some estimates, someone who smokes a pack a day will spend more than $58,000 on cigarettes in 10 years. How can we encourage folks not to let so much money go up in smoke?
Has increasing taxes on cigarettes reduced smoking? Should we expect even higher taxes to yield additional gains?
Should states adopt stricter laws on smoking in public, including public spaces and buildings?
What kinds of programs should state and local governments develop in order to combat lung cancer?
Ask the Experts
In order to find the strongest and weakest contenders against the high cost of lung cancer, WalletHub analyzed the 50 states and the District of Columbia across two equally weighted key dimensions, including “Favorable Environment for Lung Cancer” and “Lung Cancer Prevalence & Prevention.” We then identified 11 metrics that are relevant to those dimensions. The data set is listed below.
Favorable Environment for Lung Cancer - Total Weight: 5
Median Air Quality Index: Full Weight
Price Paid for Last Purchased Pack of Cigarettes: Full Weight
Cigarette Taxes: Full Weight
Number of Adult Tobacco Users per Capita: Full Weight
Percentage of Smokers Who Attempted to Quit: Full Weight
Lung Cancer Prevalence & Prevention - Total Weight: 5
Death Rate from Lung Cancer: Double Weight
Estimated Number of New Cases of Lung Cancer per Capita: Full Weight
Number of Available Cost-Free Services to Quit Tobacco: Full Weight
“Top-Rated Hospitals for Cancer” Score: Full Weight
Smoking Ban (State Smoke-Free Policy on Indoor Air, Including Worksites, Restaurants and Bars): Full Weight
Radon-Related State Laws to Prevent Lung Cancer: Half Weight
Source: Data used to create these rankings is courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the American Cancer Society, the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists and U.S. News & World Report.