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Tob Control. 2003 Mar; 12(1): 79–85.
PMCID: PMC1759096

Measuring the accumulated hazards of smoking: global and regional estimates for 2000


Objective: Current prevalence of smoking, even where data are available, is a poor proxy for cumulative hazards of smoking, which depend on several factors including the age at which smoking began, duration of smoking, number of cigarettes smoked per day, degree of inhalation, and cigarette characteristics such as tar and nicotine content or filter type.

Methods: We extended the Peto-Lopez smoking impact ratio method to estimate accumulated hazards of smoking for different regions of the world. Lung cancer mortality data were obtained from the Global Burden of Disease mortality database. The American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study, phase II (CPS-II) with follow up for the years 1982 to 1988 was the reference population. For the global application of the method, never-smoker lung cancer mortality rates were chosen based on the estimated use of coal for household energy in each region.

Results: Men in industrialised countries of Europe, North America, and the Western Pacific had the largest accumulated hazards of smoking. Young and middle age males in many regions of the developing world also had large smoking risks. The accumulated hazards of smoking for women were highest in North America followed by Europe.

Conclusions: In the absence of detailed data on smoking prevalence and history, lung cancer mortality provides a robust indicator of the accumulated hazards of smoking. These hazards in developing countries are currently more concentrated among young and middle aged males.

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Selected References

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