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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014;15(14):5685-9.

Association between cigarette smoking history and mortality in 36,446 health examinees in Korea.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Inje University Seoul Paik Hospital, Seoul, Korea E-mail :



It is well known that smoking is a preventable factor for all-cause mortality; however, it is still questionable how many years after smoking cessation that people will have reduced risk for mortality, in particular in those with a high interest in their own health. We aimed to examine the association between time since quitting smoking and total mortality among past-smokers relative to current smokers.


We enrolled 36,446 health examinees that voluntarily taken with diverse health check-up packages of high cost burden in 1995-2003 and followed them till death by 2004. The history of cigarette smoking consumption was collected using a self-administrative questionnaire at the first visit time. Mortality risk by smoking cessation years was analyzed using Cox's proportional hazard model.


Compared to non-smokers, male smokers over 15 pack-years had higher risk for total mortality (HR=1.49, 95%CI 1.02-2.18). The mortality risk in female smokers with same pack-years was more pronounced than that in male smokers (HR=2.83, 95%CI 1.17-7.04) despite a small number of cases. Compared to current smokers, a decrease of total mortality was observed among those who ceased smoking, and inverse dose-response was found with years after cessation: RR 0.98 (95%CI, 0.64-1.41) (<2 yrs), 0.60 (95%CI, 0.43-0.83) (3-9 yrs), and 0.58 (95%CI, 0.43-0.79) (≥10 yrs).


A reduced risk of total mortality was observed after 3 years of smoking cessation. Our findings suggest that at least 3 years of smoking cessation may contribute to reduce premature mortality among Asian men.

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