Efforts to persuade women to quit smoking appear to be failing, alarming new statistics on lung cancer have suggested.
Incidence of lung cancer among women in England increased by 10% between 1987 and 2006, from 32.3 cases per 100,000 to 35.4 per 100,000 during the 19-year period, according to a new study.
The report, published by the South West Public Health Observatory at the British Thoracic Society's (BTS) winter meeting, said preventing smoking was key to reducing lung cancer and most work to encourage people to give up cigarettes had been focused on men.
The rate of lung cancer among men fell from 70.4 per 100,000 in 2000 to 59.4 per 100,000 in 2007 in the UK.
The study highlighted the need for a greater focus on targeting women with anti-smoking messages if lung cancer rates are to be reduced.
"Lung cancer is one of the UK's biggest killers and we really need to focus on reducing rates across all groups in society," said Dr Paul Beckett, chair of the BTS advisory group on lung cancer and respiratory physician at Burton Hospitals NHS Trust in Staffordshire.
He added: "While it's encouraging to see that improvements are being made in the treatment of lung cancer, we need to work on removing variations in care and make sure everyone across the country is receiving the same excellent quality of care."