09/15/2011 12:07 EDT | Updated 01/12/2012 02:10 EST

CDC: Less smoking in Western states drives further decline in US lung cancer rate

ATLANTA - The U.S. West is leading a national decline in the rate of new lung cancer cases, with states like California and Texas accounting for much of the improvement -- particularly in women.

Health officials credit lower smoking rates in Western states.

Lung cancer has been declining in men for years, but the decline in women is much more recent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that lung cancer rates among women decreased 2 per cent from 2006 to 2008, but dropped 4 per cent out West.

There were not declines in female lung cancer rates in every state, however. Only six states saw significant drops -- California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Texas and Florida. That was enough to pull down the national rate.