The WHO calculates that one person dies from tobacco-related disease every six seconds or so, equivalent to about 6 million people a year.

London - A record number of women have been diagnosed with lung cancer.

More than 18,000 cases were recorded in Britain in 2009, according to the latest Cancer Research UK figures.

Rates of the disease have risen to 39.3 for every 100,000 women from 22.2 for every 100,000 in 1975, when there were fewer than 8,000 cases.

The differences for men and women reflect the smoking patterns in previous decades for each sex, with four out of five cases caused by tobacco.

Smoking rates for women in Great Britain were highest in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the era featured in TV show Mad Men.

At that time around 45 percent of women smoking. This has since fallen to 20 percent.

More than 65 percent of men smoked during Second World War and throughout the rest of the 1940s, with lung cancer rates in men peaking around 30 years later in 1979 at nearly 115 men out of every 100,000. Now, 22 percent of men are smokers.

Lung cancer is still more common in men with more than 23,000 cases in 2009 but rates in men have been falling fast.

Male incidence of the disease is now 58.8 per 100,000 UK men against 110 in 1975.

The figures reveal almost 35,000 lung cancer deaths in 2010, including 19,410 men and 15,449 women.

A recent forecast predicted that the disease will be the biggest cancer killer of women in the UK this year.

Until the late 1990s, lung cancer was the most common cancer in the UK. In 1997 it was overtaken by breast cancer, but still accounts for 14 percent of all new cancer cases in men, and 11 percent in women. - Daily Mail