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Original article

Vol. 148 No. 5152 (2018)

Lung cancer and smoking trends in the young in Switzerland: a study based on data of the National Institute for Cancer Epidemiology and Registration and of the Swiss Health Surveys

  • Seyed Mohsen Mousavi
  • Sabine Schmid
  • Thomas Cerny
  • Martin Früh
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2018;148:w14708



We explored the trend in lung cancer incidence rates among a young Swiss population (30–54 years old) by sex from 1990 to 2014 to investigate the birth cohort effect on lung cancer. We evaluated smoking rates from 1992 to 2012 to explain sex differences in lung cancer incidence rates.


The data of the Swiss National Institute for Cancer Epidemiology and Registration (NICER) were used. We extracted the data of age-standardized (world) and age-specific incidence rates (per 100,000 people at risk) of trachea, bronchus, and lung cancers by sex and year of diagnosis from 1990 to 2014. The data on tobacco consumption were generated from the Swiss Federal Statistical Office. These data were based on Swiss Health Surveys, involving 5-year intervals from 1992 to 2012.


Incidence rates decreased among men in the age groups 40–44, 45–49, and 50–54 years. An increased rate was seen among women in age group 50–54 years. Among men, rates generally decreased in successive birth cohorts, whereas among women, the rates increased from the cohort born in 1935–1939 up to the 1950s, and then were steady. In the cohort born in 1940–1944 an increased rate was seen until the 1960s, and then they decreased. In the cohort born in 1945–1949 the rates remained steady. Smoking prevalence was higher among men than among women in all age and birth groups. Among men born in the mid-1950s or mid-1960s, smoking prevalence has become higher for younger compared to older men. This pattern was only seen among younger women born in the mid-1960s.


Decreasing lung cancer incidence rates in young Swiss men but increasing rates in young women reflect the evolution of the smoking epidemic in the world. Our findings indicate an urgent need for implementing prevention strategies that target tobacco cessation and prevention among young women.


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