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Smoking history and all-cause, ischaemic heart disease and lung cancer mortality: follow-up study of 358 551 men and women aged 40–43 years


Aims We studied the health consequences of quitting smoking before age 43 by time since quitting, number of years smoked and cigarettes smoked per day. The outcomes were all-cause, ischaemic heart disease and lung cancer mortality.

Design Prospective study.

Setting Norwegian counties.

Participants Men and women aged 40–43 years who participated in a national cardiovascular screening programme and who were followed from 1985 to 2018.

Measurements Self-reports from questionnaire on time since quitting smoking, years smoked and number of cigarettes per day, and measurements of height, weight and blood pressure, and a blood sample where serum was analysed for total serum cholesterol and triglycerides.

Findings The all-cause mortality rate was 30% higher among quitters less than 1 year ago compared with never smokers (adjusted HR=1.30, 95% CI 1.18–1.43 in men and HR=1.31, 95% CI 1.16 to 1.50 in women). Quitters who had smoked longer than 20 years had 23% higher mortality in men (HR=1.23, 95% CI 1.14 to 1.34) and 32% higher mortality in women (HR=1.32, 95% CI 1.18 to 1.49). Past smoking of more than 20 cigarettes/day was associated with HR=1.14 (1.05–1.23) in men and HR=1.16 (1.01–1.32) in women. The HR for lung cancer was 6.77 (95% CI 4.86 to 9.45) for quitting men who had smoked for more than 20 years compared with never smokers. The corresponding figure for women was 5.75 (95% CI 4.08 to 8.09).

Conclusions The mortality among quitters was close to that of never smokers, except for a higher mortality for lung cancer, which on the other hand was much lower than the lung cancer mortality in current smokers.

  • harm reduction
  • smoking caused disease
  • cessation
  • prevention

Data availability statement

No data are available.

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