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Study: Cancer rising among Palestinians, 1 in 5 smoke

May 30, 2012 12:20 P.M. (Updated: June 1, 2012 10:03 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Over one-fifth of adult Palestinians smoke, a study released Wednesday said, on the day before international No Tobacco Day.

Smoking is more common in the West Bank, at 26.9 percent, compared with the Gaza Strip, at 14.6 percent, the report by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics and the PA Ministry of Health said.

The highest percentage of smokers is found in the Jenin governorate, at 32.2 percent, and the lowest percentage is in the north Gaza governorate, at 11.3 percent, the study said.

Men are more likely to smoke than women, with 37.6 percent males smoking, compared to 2.6 percent of women.

While figures released by the ministry and PCBS show a slight decline in rates of smoking, the official bodies said cancer prevalence was rising in Palestine.

The Ministry of Health said new reported cancer cases increased by 11 percent in 2011 compared to 2010. Lung cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer affecting Palestinian men, and the fourth most common affecting women, it said.

Warning of the dangers of passive smoking, the ministry said it had also treated 77,000 children between two and five years old suffering from pulmonary inflammation and breathing difficulties in 2011.

Smoking is the top cause of underweight newborns, the ministry added.

The World Health Organization has launched a campaign against what it describes as tobacco industry interference in smoking control efforts on World No Tobacco Day, marked on May 31.
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