Global Tobacco Control Updates

Tobacco smoking impact on life expectancy in 63 countries around the world
06 Dec 2016
Research Alert

A study published by Tobacco Control assesses the impact of tobacco smoking on life expectancy worldwide between 1980 and 2010. Cause-specific mortality data from the WHO Mortality Database (1980–2010) was extracted for 63 countries. Researchers also estimated the potential gain in life expectancy at age 40 if smoking-related deaths in middle age (40–79 years) were eliminated. Among the 63 countries included in the study 2 were located in Africa, 15 in the Americas, 12 in Asia, 32 in Europe, and 2 in Oceania.

Key Findings

  • Tobacco smoking is related to approximately 20 percent of total adult mortality (24 percent in men and 12 percent in women) in the 63 countries included in this study.
  • If smoking-related deaths were eliminated, adult life expectancy would increase on average by 2.4 years in men and 1 year in women.
  • The proportion of smoking-related mortality among men has declined in most countries, but has increased from 4.6 percent to 7.3 percent in China, the most populous country in the world.
  • Increases in the impact of tobacco on life expectancy were observed among women in high-income countries.

Key Messages

  • The smoking epidemic has not reached its peak in almost all countries of this study, and smoking is expected to continue to have negative impact in countries where the epidemic has not subsided. 
  • Effective interventions are needed to prevent the catastrophic expected impact of smoking on global health. 
  • The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and its Guidelines specify evidence-based measures to reduce tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke, including policies that provide for:
    • Comprehensive protection from secondhand smoke by adopting smoke-free public places; 
    • Comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; 
    • Large pictorial health warnings on tobacco products; and 
    • Tobacco taxation and pricing that reduce the affordability of tobacco products.

Full Citation: Rentería, E., P. Jha, D. Forman, and I. Soerjomataram. "The Impact of Cigarette Smoking on Life Expectancy between 1980 and 2010: A Global Perspective." Tobacco Control 25.5 (2015): 551-57. Web.

Full study available [ENGLISH ONLY] from:


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