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Am J Epidemiol. 2002 Dec 1;156(11):994-1001.

Smoking reduction, smoking cessation, and mortality: a 16-year follow-up of 19,732 men and women from The Copenhagen Centre for Prospective Population Studies.

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The Copenhagen Centre for Prospective Population Studies, Danish Epidemiology Science Centre at the Institute of Preventive Medicine, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.


The authors investigated the association between changes in smoking habits and mortality by pooling data from three large cohort studies conducted in Copenhagen, Denmark. The study included a total of 19,732 persons who had been examined between 1967 and 1988, with reexaminations at 5- to 10-year intervals and a mean follow-up of 15.5 years. Date of death and cause of death were obtained by record linkage with nationwide registers. By means of Cox proportional hazards models, heavy smokers (>or=15 cigarettes/day) who reduced their daily tobacco intake by at least 50% without quitting between the first two examinations and participants who quit smoking were compared with persons who continued to smoke heavily. After exclusion of deaths occurring in the first 2 years of follow-up, the authors found the following adjusted hazard ratios for subjects who reduced their smoking: for cardiovascular diseases, hazard ratio (HR) = 1.01 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.76, 1.35); for respiratory diseases, HR = 1.20 (95% CI: 0.70, 2.07); for tobacco-related cancers, HR = 0.91 (95% CI: 0.63, 1.31); and for all-cause mortality, HR = 1.02 (95% CI: 0.89, 1.17). In subjects who stopped smoking, most estimates were significantly lower than the heavy smokers'. These results suggest that smoking reduction is not associated with a decrease in mortality from tobacco-related diseases. The data confirm that smoking cessation reduces mortality risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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