Radon, smoking, and lung cancer: the need to refocus radon control policy

Am J Public Health. 2013 Mar;103(3):443-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300926. Epub 2013 Jan 17.


Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, and the risk is significantly higher for smokers than for nonsmokers. More than 85% of radon-induced lung cancer deaths are among smokers. The most powerful approach for reducing the public health burden of radon is shaped by 2 overarching principles: public communication efforts that promote residential radon testing and remediation will be the most cost effective if they are primarily directed at current and former smokers; and focusing on smoking prevention and cessation is the optimal strategy for reducing radon-induced lung cancer in terms of both public health gains and economic efficiency. Tobacco control policy is the most promising route to the public health goals of radon control policy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Environmental Exposure / economics
  • Environmental Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Program Evaluation
  • Radon / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking Cessation


  • Radon