Beijing lung cancer rates have shot up more than 50% over the last decade, a statistic officials blame on smoking while adding that pollution might possibly play a role. Which, considering Beijing’s smog over the last decade, seems akin to blaming radiation poisoning in Chernobyl on too much microwave popcorn. BBC reports:
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently estimated that polluted air kills millions of people every year.
Pollution kills millions. Xinhua said the latest figures – which are for only one city and one disease – were issued by Beijing municipal health bureau.
They show the number of lung cancer patients per 100,000 people was 39.56 in 2002, but had jumped to 63.09 by 2011.
The article gave no reason for the increase in patients.
Beijing health officials said lung cancer was linked to lifestyle choices, with smoking still the top cause. But they said passive smoking and air pollution could also be a factor.
Last month the WHO issued a scientific report detailing the link between air pollution and a number of different diseases and illness.
It estimated that breathing in fine particles contributed to 3.2 million premature deaths a year across the world and killed more than 200,000 from lung cancer
And though smoking obviously does play a role, it should be noted that Beijing smoking rates have declined the last couple years, whereas the pollution is worsening in just about every major Chinese city, with pollution levels in Beijing shooting up 30% in the first three months of 2013. In fact, scientists have found that
breathing in Beijing is less healthy than living in an airport smoke lounge.
We’re just glad these health officials, who seem as transparent as Beijing’s skyline, didn’t blame the recent case of the eight-year-old with lung cancer on smoking as well.