How many deaths are attributable to smoking in the United States? Comparison of methods for estimating smoking-attributable mortality when smoking prevalence changes.

TitleHow many deaths are attributable to smoking in the United States? Comparison of methods for estimating smoking-attributable mortality when smoking prevalence changes.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsOza S, Thun MJ, Henley JS, Lopez AD, Ezzati M
JournalPrev Med
Volume52
Issue6
Pagination428-33
Date Published2011 Jun
ISSN1096-0260
KeywordsAged, Aged, 80 and over, American Cancer Society, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cause of Death, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasms, Prevalence, Prospective Studies, Respiratory Tract Diseases, Risk, Sex Distribution, Smoking, Smoking Cessation, Time Factors, United States
Abstract

BACKGROUND: The number of smoking-attributable deaths is commonly estimated using current and former smoking prevalences or lung cancer mortality as an indirect metric of cumulative population smoking. Neither method accounts for differences in the timing with which relative risks (RRs) for different diseases change following smoking initiation and cessation. We aimed to develop a method to account for time-dependent RRs.

METHODS: We used birth cohort lung cancer mortality and its change over time to characterize time-varying cumulative smoking exposure. We analyzed data from the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study II to estimate RRs for disease-specific mortality associated with current and former smoking, and change in RRs over time after cessation.

RESULTS: When lung cancer was used to measure cumulative smoking exposure, 254,700 male and 227,000 female deaths were attributed to smoking in the US in 2005. A modified method in which RRs for different diseases decreased at different rates after cessation yielded similar but slightly lower estimates [251,900 (male) and 221,100 (female)]. The lowest estimates resulted from the method based on smoking prevalence [225,800 (male) and 163,700 (female)].

CONCLUSIONS: Although all methods estimated a large number of smoking attributable deaths, future efforts should account for temporal changes in smoking prevalence and in accumulation/reversibility of disease-specific risks.

DOI10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.04.007
Alternate JournalPrev Med
PubMed ID21530575