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Trends in Smoking Related Deaths

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you. 

New data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey confirm the health hazards of smoking. Mortality from any causeA drawing of a pair of lungs with a tan splotch on it labelled as lung cancer, and a lit cigarette drawn next to it. among smokers, both men and women, is three times higher than non-smokers. Most of the increased mortality is due to lung cancer, head and neck cancer, COPD, heart disease and stroke, and shortens life expectancy by more than 10 years.

The risk of death from cigarette smoking continues to rise among women. Sadly, women have reached the same level of risk associated with smoking as that experienced by men. Among men the risk for lung cancer has stabilized, however risk of death from COPD continues to rise, possibly because recent design changes in cigarettes promote deeper inhalation.

It is never too late to quit.

Quitting smoking at any age lowers the risk of death for smoking-related diseases. And quitting before the age of 40 reduces the risk of death associated with continued smoking by 90 percent.

Thun et al., New England Journal of Medicine, 368 (4), Jan. 24, 2013

Jha et al., New England Journal of Medicine 368(4) Jan. 24, 2013