In the LDS religion, adherence to the Word of Wisdom was based on faith for over a century before scientific evidence began to support its precepts in the area of tobacco. It was not until the 1950s that epidemiologic studies provided sufficient evidence to implicate tobacco as a risk factor for several chronic diseases. Although tobacco-smoking prevalence has since declined in the United States, it remains significantly above the historically low levels experienced in Utah. Consequently, substantial differences in the burden of tobacco-related cancers exist and will continue to exist for several years to come.
This article presents data on tobacco use and incidence of cancer in Utah compared with the United States as a whole.