Objectives To estimate the gender-specific risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease according to smoking status and time since smoking cessation among former smokers in Japan.
Design Prospective study.
Setting 140 026 males and 156 810 females aged 40–79 years who participated in one of three cohort studies conducted in Japan between 1980 and 1990.
Outcome The gender-specific hazard ratios (HRs) for cardiovascular disease mortality were calculated after adjustment for age and cohort.
Results The age-adjusted and cohort-adjusted HRs for current smokers compared with lifelong non-smokers were 1.51 (95% CI 1.38 to 1.64) for total cardiovascular diseases, 2.19 (95% CI 1.79 to 2.67) for coronary heart disease and 1.24 (95% CI 1.10 to 1.41) for total stroke in males, and were 1.85 (95% CI 1.65 to 2.06), 2.84 (95% CI 2.24 to 3.60) and 1.70 (95% CI 1.44 to 2.01), respectively, in females. The age-adjusted and cohort-adjusted HRs for former smokers compared with current smokers according to the time period since smoking cessation decreased by approximately 5 years after smoking cessation and reached the same level as lifelong non-smokers approximately 10 years after smoking cessation among both males and females.
Conclusions The present study confirmed the association between smoking and mortality from cardiovascular disease in both males and females. Smoking cessation is a crucial preventive measure against death from cardiovascular disease.
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Funding This work was supported by grants-in–aid for the Comprehensive Research on Cardiovascular Diseases, for Cancer Research and for the Third-Term Comprehensive Ten-Year Strategy for Cancer Control from the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, Japan and also by grants-in-aid for Scientific Research on Priority Areas from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the human ethics review committees of the National Cancer Center.
Patient consent Obtained.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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