Smoking and Mortality
Each day, 100 Canadians die of a smoking-related illness.3
Smoking is responsible for more deaths than overweight and obesity, physical inactivity or high blood pressure.4
The younger a person starts smoking the greater the risk of premature death. Regardless of the age at which someone starts smoking, their risk of dying prematurely is greater compared to someone who has never smoked.7
This health warning message addresses mortality for cigarettes and little cigars:
What is premature death?
Premature death is when someone dies before their normal life expectancy. In Canada, males can expect to live about 78 years, and females about 83 years.8 By contrast, it has been estimated that male smokers in Canada live to an average age of 71 years while female smokers live to an average age of 73 years.9
How does smoking increase the risk of premature death?
Some of the chemicals in tobacco smoke cause changes in the human body which can lead to disease, disability and premature death. Some chemicals cause, initiate or promote cancer10,11 while some interfere with normal cardiovascular and respiratory function.5
The benefits of quitting
Quitting is more effective than other measures to avoid premature death.
Need help to quit? Call the pan-Canadian quitline toll-free at 1-866-366-3667.
1. Makromaski-Illing, EM, Kaiserman MJ. Mortality Attributable to Tobacco Use in Canada and its Regions, 1994 and 1996. Chron Dis Can 1999;20(3):111-117.
2. Statistics Canada. Table 102-0552 - Deaths and mortality rate, by selected grouped causes and sex, Canada, provinces and territories, annual (2007), CANSIM (database). 2011 [updated 2010 Nov 15; cited 2011 Mar 4]. Available from: http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a05?lang=eng&id=1020552.
3. Rehm J, Baliunas D, Brochu S, Fischer B, Gnam W, Patra J, et al. The costs of substance abuse in Canada 2002. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse; 2006
4. Global Burden of Disease 2004 - Americas. World Health Organization. Available from http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/risk_factors/en/index.html
5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2004. Chap 7. P.878. Available from: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/smokingconsequences/index.html
6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking an Health; 2006. Chap.1. P. 13-16. Available from: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/secondhandsmoke/index.html.
7. Kenfield SA, Stampfer MJ, Rosner BA and Colditz GA. Smoking and smoking cessation in relation to mortality in women. JAMA. 2008;299(17): 2037-2047.
8. Statistics Canada, CANSIM, table 102-0512 and Catalogue no. 84-537-XIE. Last modified: 2010-06-21. Available from: http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/health26-eng.htm.
9. Baliunas D, Patra J, Rehm J, Popova S, Kaiserman M, and Taylor B. Smoking-attributable mortality and expected years of life lost in Canada 2002: Conclusions for prevention and policy - available from Chronic Diseases in Canada, 2007;27(4):154-162.
10. Rodgman, A., Perfetti, T.A. The chemical components of tobacco and tobacco smoke. (2009). CRC press, Florida, USA. ISBN 978-1-4200-7883-1.
11. Hecht SS. Research Opportunities Related to Establishing Standards for Tobacco Products Under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Nicotine & Tobacco Research [http://ntr.oxfordjournals.org/] Commentary [accepted November 25, 2010]. Web Published 2011 January;10.1093/ntr/ntq216. Available from: http://ntr.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/01/09/ntr.ntq216.full.pdf
12. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Benefits of Smoking Cessation. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking an Health; 1990. Available from: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/index.html.
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