The American Cancer Society and the other professional anti contingents of the so-called "public health community" don't like it to be known that anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 never-smokers get lung cancer every year. Some of these are very young, like pilot Lisa Wagner, a never-smoker who died from lung cancer in June, 2002. She was 31. Or bagpipe champion Kevin Quail, also 31. Or Susan Manley, 38, of Cincinnati, who never smoked, never worked around tobacco smoke, and grew up in a non-smoking home. Or Kim Perrot, the champion Women's National Basketball Assn. point guard of the Houston Comets, who was only 32 when she died of lung cancer.
Even vehement anti-smokers get lung cancer. Just this past September, celebrity hairdresser Murdo Maclean died of lung cancer at 52. He not only never smoked (or drank) himself, but he banned smoking in his shop in the 1970s and was vehement about his opposition to tobacco smoke and smoking.
And, despite all the smoking bans, the incidence of lung cancer in never-smokers appears to be rising, even in men. According to a study by IARC (an arm of the World Health Organization), the rate of lung cancer in a cohort of never-smoking Swedish men was more than four times as high between 1991 and 1995 as it had been between 1976 and 1980 [Bofetta P, Jarvholm B, Brennan P, Nyren O, "Incidence of lung cancer in a large cohort of non-smoking men from Sweden," International Journal of Cancer, 94:4, pp. 591-593, 8/27/01]. Abstract can be found here.
Further, about 50% of diagnosed lung cancer cases are in EX-smokers, some of whom have not smoked in 30 or more years, like Bernard Fox, retired chief executive officer of Northeast Utilities in Berlin, Connecticut: "I had not smoked in more than 30 years, and I had kept in excellent physical condition. In a nutshell, lung cancer was the last disease I thought I would get," [Bernard M. Fox, "Uphill Battle," Hartford Courant, 12/4/01].
But apparently the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and even the Centers for Disease Control and the National Cancer Institute care nothing about the never-smokers and obedient ex-smokers who contract lung cancer, even though together those two groups now constitute the MAJORITY of lung cancer cases, according to the Alliance for Lung Cancer (Advocacy - Tobacco Activism)
Some anti-smoking groups have even dismissed possible cures for lung cancer on the grounds that if there were a cure, then people would keep smoking.
The World Health Organization's official position on curing cancer was articulated by Derek Yach, Director of Non-communicable Diseases at WHO: "We tackle lung cancer by breaking the addictive grip of the tobacco industry and taking action to help people quit smoking or never start." (Press Release - 11-12-2001)
Clive Bates of United Kingdom Action on Smoking and Health said about a possible new vaccine being developed by Japan Tobacco: "There is already a simple cure for lung cancer--just quit smoking early enough or never start."
But, of course, some of those who never smoked get lung cancer, and some who quit smoking early still get lung cancer. What about those people? Apparently Clive Bates of ASH and Derek Yach of the WHO think it's okay for them to die, just so long as NO ONE SMOKES!