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Health Highlight Report for Harding County

Cancer Deaths - Lung Cancer: Deaths per 100,000 Population, Age-adjusted, 2013-2017

  • Harding County
    95% Confidence Interval (0.0 - 96.1)
    Statistical StabilityVery Unstable
    New Mexico
  • Harding County Compared to State

    gauge ranking
    Description of Dashboard Gauge

    Description of the Dashboard Gauge

    This "dashboard" type graphic is based on the community data on the right. It compares the community value on this indicator to the state overall value.
    • Excellent = The community's value on this indicator is BETTER than the state value, and the difference IS statistically significant.
    • Watch = The community's value is BETTER than state value, but the difference IS NOT statistically significant.
    • Improvement Needed = The community's value on this indicator is WORSE than the state value, but the difference IS NOT statistically significant.
    • Reason for Concern = The community's value on this indicator is WORSE than the state value, and the difference IS statistically significant.

    The community value is considered statistically significantly different from the state value if the state value is outside the range of the community's 95% confidence interval. If the community's data or 95% confidence interval information is not available, a blank gauge image will be displayed with the message, "missing information."
    NOTE: The labels used on the gauge graphic are meant to describe the community's status in plain language. The placement of the gauge needle is based solely on the statistical difference between the community and state values. When selecting priority health issues to work on, a community should take into account additional factors such as how much improvement could be made, the U.S. value, the statistical stability of the community number, the severity of the health condition, and whether the difference is clinically significant.

Why Is This Important?

Among New Mexicans, lung cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women, and is the leading cause of cancer death overall. Approximately 90% of lung cancer cases in men and 80% in women are attributable to cigarette smoking (New Mexico Cancer Plan 2012-2017). Tobacco smoke contains at least 70 chemicals known to cause cancer in people or animals. People who smoke cigarettes are 15 to 30 times more likely to die from lung cancer than people who do not smoke.

Risk and Resiliency Factors

Smoking is by far the leading risk factor for lung cancer. At least 80% of lung cancer deaths are thought to result from smoking. The risk for lung cancer among smokers is many times higher than among non-smokers. The longer you smoke and the more packs a day you smoke, the greater your risk. Cigar smoking and pipe smoking are almost as likely to cause lung cancer as cigarette smoking. Smoking low-tar or light cigarettes increases lung cancer risk as much as regular cigarettes. There is concern that menthol cigarettes may increase the risk even more since the menthol allows smokers to inhale more deeply. Even if you don't smoke, breathing in the smoke of others (called secondhand smoke) can increase your risk of developing lung cancer by almost 30%. Workers who have been exposed to tobacco smoke in the workplace are also more likely to get lung cancer. Secondhand smoke is thought to cause more than 7,000 deaths from lung cancer each year. After smoking, the next highest risk for lung cancer comes from exposure to radon. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas created by the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks and cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. However, the risk from radon is much higher in people who smoke than in those who don't. There are other cancer-causing agents found in some work places that can increase lung cancer risk and include: asbestos; radioactive ores such as uranium; and inhaled chemicals or minerals such as arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, silica, vinyl chloride, nickel compounds, chromium compounds, coal products, mustard gas, chloromethyl ethers, and diesel exhaust. A few other factors that can influence a person's risk for lung cancer include: air pollution, radiation therapy to the lungs, arsenic in drinking water, certain dietary supplements, and a personal or family history of lung cancer. Source: American Cancer Society

How Are We Doing?

The rate of death from lung cancer in New Mexico rose slightly during the 1980s, stabilized in the early 1990s, and has generally decreased in the most recent years.

What Is Being Done?

The New Mexico Department of Health's Tobacco Use Prevention and Control (TUPAC) Program and its partners use a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to promote healthy lifestyles that are free from tobacco abuse and addiction among all New Mexicans. TUPAC follows recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and works with communities, schools, and organizations across the state to implement activities and services that decrease the harmful and addictive use of commercial tobacco. Activities include: tobacco-free public high school and post-secondary campuses policy development, smoke-free multi-unit housing, point-of-sale marketing strategies, tobacco cessation services, public awareness and education campaigns, and initiatives to reduce health disparities. Other key tobacco prevention and control activities in the state are funded through the Department of Indian Affairs and the Human Services Department (Synar and FDA Programs).

Evidence-based Practices

Addressing tobacco use is best done through a coordinated effort to establish tobacco-free policies and social norms, to promote quitting tobacco and assist tobacco users in quitting, and to prevent initiation of tobacco use. This comprehensive approach combines educational, clinical, regulatory, economic, and social strategies. Research has documented strong or sufficient evidence in the use of the following strategies: - Increasing the unit price of tobacco products. - Restricting minors' access to tobacco products, and by restricting the time, place, and manner in which tobacco is marketed and sold. - Strategic, culturally appropriate, and high impact health communication messages (mass media), including paid TV, radio, billboard, print, and web-based advertising at state and local levels. - Ensuring that all patients seen in the health care system are screened for tobacco use, receive brief interventions to help them quit, and are offered more intensive counseling and low- or no-cost cessation medications. - Providing insurance coverage for tobacco use treatment, and phone- and web-based cessation services are effective and can reach large numbers of tobacco users. - Passage of laws and policies in a comprehensive tobacco control effort to protect the public from secondhand exposure. To potentially prevent some lung cancer deaths through early detection and treatment, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Screening should be discontinued once a person has not smoked for 15 years or develops a health problem that substantially limits life expectancy or the ability or willingness to have curative lung surgery. Sources: (1) CDC. Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs - 2014 ( (2) The Guide to Community Preventive Services: Tobacco Use - 2010 ( (3) The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: Lung Cancer Screening Recommendation Summary - 2013 (

Healthy People Objective C-2:

Reduce the lung cancer death rate
U.S. Target: 45.5 deaths per 100,000 population


Lung cancer mortality is defined as malignant neoplasm of bronchus and lung (ICD10: C34).  Data have been directly age-adjusted to the U.S. 2000 standard population. *This count or rate is statistically unstable (RSE >0.30), and may fluctuate widely across time periods due to random variation (chance). **This count or rate is extremely unstable (RSE >0.50). This value should not be used to infer population risk. You should combine years or otherwise increase your population size.

Data Sources

New Mexico Death Data: Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics (BVRHS), New Mexico Department of Health.   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, CDC WONDER Online Database (  

Measure Description for Cancer Deaths - Lung Cancer

Definition: Lung Cancer Deaths per 100,000 population in New Mexico
Numerator: Number of lung cancer deaths
Denominator: New Mexico population

Indicator Profile Report

Average Annual Lung Cancer Deaths per 100,000 Population (exits this report)

Date Content Last Updated

The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Thu, 29 July 2021 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Fri, 21 Jun 2019 11:52:53 MDT