A new research suggests that whites and blacks in the U.S. are at a higher risk of developing lung cancer, as compared to other ethnic groups.

Medical data from 1998 to 2006, from across 38 States and the District of Columbia was analyzed for study. The annual incidence of lung cancer per 100,000 people was 76.1 for blacks, 69.7 for whites, 48.4 for American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs), 38.4 for Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 37.3 for Hispanics.

Those between ages 70 and 79 had higher risks of developing cancer at about 463 cases per 100,000. Occurrence was highest in the South (76 per cent) and lowest in the West (about 59 per cent).

Researchers noted that variations may be due to differences in smoking habits and other exposure to cancer causing factors.

"These findings identify the racial/ethnic populations and geographic regions that would most benefit from enhanced efforts in primary prevention, specifically by reducing tobacco use and exposure to environmental carcinogens," they wrote in a report.