• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of jepicomhInstructions for authorsCurrent TOCJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health
J Epidemiol Community Health. Jul 2004; 58(7): 604–610.
PMCID: PMC1732832

Impact of smoking on the social gradient in health expectancy in Denmark


Study objective: Health expectancy is arrived at by dividing life expectancy into average lifetime in different states of health. The purpose of the study was to estimate health expectancy among never smokers and smokers in groups at high, medium, and low educational levels in Denmark.

Design: Life tables for never smokers and smokers with a high, medium, and low educational level were constructed on the basis of Statistics Denmark registers and combined with data from the Danish Health Interview Survey 2000. Health expectancy was calculated by Sullivan's method.

Main results: Life expectancy at age 30 differs on average by 8.5 years between never smokers and heavy smokers. Expected lifetime in self rated good health was 39.4 years for a never smoking man corresponding to 82.0% of the rest of his life. For male lifelong heavy smokers these figures were reduced to 27.3 years and 69.2%. The proportion of expected lifetime in self rated good health was 89.5% and 71.3% among male never smokers and lifelong heavy smokers with a high educational level, respectively; and the proportion among male never smokers and heavy smokers with a low educational level was 73.4% and 63.6%, respectively. Similar results were seen as regards expected lifetime without longstanding illness. For women the social gradient in health expectancy was intensified among smokers.

Conclusions: Within each educational group smoking reduces expected lifetime in a healthy state. The social gradient in health expectancy cannot be explained by a reverse social gradient in smoking prevalence.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (162K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Brønnum-Hansen H, Juel K. Abstention from smoking extends life and compresses morbidity: a population based study of health expectancy among smokers and never smokers in Denmark. Tob Control. 2001 Sep;10(3):273–278. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Brønnum-Hansen Henrik, Andersen Otto, Kjøller Mette, Rasmussen Niels Kristian. Social gradient in life expectancy and health expectancy in Denmark. Soz Praventivmed. 2004;49(1):36–41. [PubMed]
  • Sullivan DF. A single index of mortality and morbidity. HSMHA Health Rep. 1971 Apr;86(4):347–354. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Peto R, Lopez AD, Boreham J, Thun M, Heath C., Jr Mortality from tobacco in developed countries: indirect estimation from national vital statistics. Lancet. 1992 May 23;339(8804):1268–1278. [PubMed]
  • Helweg-Larsen Karin, Kjøller Mette, Davidsen Michael, Rasmussen Niels Kristian, Madsen Mette. The Danish National Cohort Study (DANCOS). Dan Med Bull. 2003 May;50(2):177–180. [PubMed]
  • Prescott E, Osler M, Andersen PK, Hein HO, Borch-Johnsen K, Lange P, Schnohr P, Vestbo J. Mortality in women and men in relation to smoking. Int J Epidemiol. 1998 Feb;27(1):27–32. [PubMed]
  • Patrick DL, Cheadle A, Thompson DC, Diehr P, Koepsell T, Kinne S. The validity of self-reported smoking: a review and meta-analysis. Am J Public Health. 1994 Jul;84(7):1086–1093. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC


  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...