03/14/2012 05:13 pm ET

800,000 Lung Cancer Deaths Prevented Because Of Anti-Smoking Efforts: Report

Just how many lives have been saved from quitting smoking -- or never starting?

800,000 -- and that's just between 1975 and 2000, according to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

Smoking rates have been declining in America since the mid-1950s, when anti-smoking policies and interventions started to be implemented and the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health came out in 1964, according to researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The study shows the effects of these anti-smoking measures.

"These findings provide a compelling illustration of the devastating impact of tobacco use in our nation and the enormous benefits of reducing rates of smoking," Robert Croyle, Ph.D., director of the NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, said in a statement.

Government efforts to curb smoking have included increasing cigarette excise taxes, restricting smoking in public areas, forbidding underage cigarette access and increasing awareness of the health effects of smoking, researchers reported.

The researchers looked at data from the NCI's Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network, which looks at smoking histories for people who were born between 1890 and 1970. They also looked at the lung cancer deaths linked with these smoking histories.

Cigarette smoking is the top risk factor for lung cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The habit is responsible for around 90 percent of all lung cancers in the United States. For help to quit smoking, click here or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.