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Am J Public Health. 1983 Jun;73(6):672-7.

Premature deaths avoided by the antismoking campaign.


The antismoking campaign has encouraged millions of people to quit smoking cigarettes and millions of others not to initiate the habit. Because quitting smoking, or deciding not to start, reduces one's mortality risks relative to the continuing smoker, we estimate that these consumption impacts resulted in the avoidance of more than 200,000 premature smoking-related deaths during 1964-1978. On average, each of these premature deaths averted translates into 23 additional years of life. Furthermore, campaign-related smoking cessation and non-initiation during the 1964-1978 period will result in the avoidance of many more premature deaths in the coming decades. Although these figures suggest that the antismoking campaign has been successful, tens of millions of Americans continue to smoke and the premature deaths avoided constitute only a small fraction of the 4 million deaths attributable to smoking that occurred during the same years.

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