In the 1960s, almost half of women smoked, compared to one in five now, it was revealed by Cancer Research UK.
The charity added that women took up smoking in the 60s when it was considered glamorous and even normal during pregnancy, but over 50 years later, this outdated attitude has taken its toll.
Because lung cancer takes up to 30 years to develop symptoms, the result of the escalation in female tobacco consumption during the 60s is only recently coming to light.
In 1975 there were 22 cases of lung cancer for every 100,000 women but today this figure stands at almost 40.
“These latest figures highlight the deadly impact of tobacco. The continuing rise of lung cancer in women reflects the high number of female smokers several decades ago when attitudes were different,” said a charity spokesman.
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