Smoking Increases Death Rates in British Women Followed for 12 years

Smoking triples the risk of death in smokers in a British study of 1.2 million women followed for 12 years says Owasso Family Medicine.

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Owasso, OK (PRWEB) October 31, 2012

Because women born around 1940 were the first generation of women who smoked a substantial number of cigarettes throughout their lives, a UK study was undertaken to see the effects of smoking and smoking cessation on mortality in women in the UK in this age group. This UK study followed 1.2 million women who were at an average age of 55 (average birth year of 1943) at the start of the study and followed them for an average of 12 years (http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2812%2961720-6/fulltext).

Of the 30 most common causes of death, 23 were substantially increased in those who smoked compared to never smokers. The most significant were chronic lung disease (35.3 times higher in smokers), lung cancer (21.4 times higher), aortic aneurysm – a rupture of the main blood vessel that takes blood from the heart to the rest of the body - (6.32 times higher), cancer of the mouth, sinuses, and throat (4.83 times higher) and heart attacks (4.47 times higher).

Overall, it was estimated that there was an 11 year loss of life in those who continued to smoke. Those who continued to smoke in their 50s, 60, and 70s had triple the risk of death compared to those who were never smokers and 2/3 of deaths in these age groups were directly due to smoking.

The risk of excess mortality due to smoking was linearly related to the number of cigarettes smoked – in other words the more cigarettes smoked the higher the death rate.

There is no safe amount of smoking - for those women who smoked less than 12 cigarettes a day, their death rate was still double those who were never smokers.

The good news in this study was that stopping smoking before age 40 was associated with a decreased risk for death - 90% of the excess risk was avoided. Stopping smoking before age 30 avoided 97% of the excess mortality risk from smoking. Even stopping at age 50 would avoid 66% of the excess mortality risk. In other words, there are benefits to stopping smoking anywhere in a person’s lifespan compared to continued smoking – the earlier that decision is made, the greater the benefit and the longer the resulting lifespan.


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  • Paul Pisarik
    Owasso Family Medicine
    918-212-6332
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