Table 1 Background characteristics at the last examination of participants*, by category of smoking
Sustained never smokers“Starters”Sustained ex-smokers“Resumers”Sustained smokers“Quitters”p Value†
Men (n = 23 560):
Age (years)43.6 (6.8)39.5 (9.1)46.3 (6.0)43.8 (7.3)44.1 (7.4)43.9 (7.5)<0.001
Cigarette consumption (no. per day)8.1 (4.7)13.8 (8.1)11.7 (6.1)14.1 (6.4)15.0 (8.0)
Duration of smoking (years)9.1 (7.6)13.8 (6.8)19.4 (8.8)24.2 (7.9)20.3 (8.4)
Systolic BP (mmHg)135.5 (17.9)133.3 (16.7)136.9 (16.9)135.2 (17.0)135.6 (17.3)137.2 (17.5)<0.001
Diastolic BP (mmHg)85.2 (10.9)82.6 (10.9)87.3 (11.0)84.9 (11.4)84.6 (11.2)86.1 (11.8)<0.001
Total serum cholesterol (mmol/litre)5.98 (1.17)5.74 (1.17)6.16 (1.18)6.14 (1.26)6.30 (1.24)6.22 (1.24)<0.001
Serum triglycerides (mmol/litre)1.95 (1.01)1.80 (1.34)2.10 (1.25)2.03 (1.15)2.06 (1.20)2.13 (1.25)<0.001
Physical activity leisure‡2.32 (0.65)2.28 (0.70)2.28 (0.68)2.18 (0.66)2.10 (0.65)2.20 (0.67)0.005
BMI (kg/m2)25.3 (3.9)24.9 (4.0)25.9 (3.3)25.2 (3.5)24.8 (3.6)26.0 (3.6)<0.001
Height (cm)176.3 (9.0)177.0 (9.7)176.1 (8.6)176.3 (9.0)175.2 (8.9)175.6 (9.0)0.142
Disability pension (%)3.3 (2.1)3.3 (2.3)2.4 (1.8)1.9 (1.7)4.1 (2.3)2.6 (2.2)0.008
Sick leave (%)2.0 (1.7)7.0 (2.1)3.0 (1.9)4.0 (2.0)5.0 (2.2)4.0 (2.2)<0.001
Family history of CHD (%)§25.5 (4.6)23.6 (4.6)30.3 (4.7)34.4 (4.7)28.3 (4.7)26.7 (4.6)0.066
Women (n = 25 122):
Age (years)45.3 (6.6)43.1 (8.5)44.9 (6.4)42.5 (7.6)43.5 (7.6)42.5 (8.0)0.004
Cigarette consumption (no. per day)5.8 (3.7)8.6 (5.2)8.8 (4.8)10.8 (5.1)9.9 (5.6)
Duration of smoking (years)7.1 (6.8)10.0 (5.8)14.4 (7.9)19.8 (7.3)15.2 (7.5)
Systolic BP (mmHg)132.2 (18.1)128.9 (16.3)129.5 (16.1)127.1 (17.3)128.7 (17.2)128.8 (16.9)<0.001
Diastolic BP (mmHg)82.6 (10.3)80.1 (10.1)81.8 (10.0)79.2 (10.7)80.5 (10.5)80.4 (10.7)0.001
Total serum cholesterol (mmol/litre)6.09 (1.16)5.97 (1.18)6.05 (1.23)5.98 (1.23)6.25 (1.26)6.06 (1.27)0.141
Serum triglycerides (mmol/litre)1.34 (0.73)1.55 (1.22)1.32 (0.81)1.38 (0.71)1.52 (0.90)1.42 (0.80)0.258
Physical activity leisure‡2.01 (0.57)1.92 (0.61)2.03 (0.56)1.98 (0.56)1.93 (0.57)1.96 (0.55)0.099
BMI (kg/m2)25.0 (4.0)24.9 (4.0)24.6 (3.6)23.8 (3.5)23.7 (3.7)25.0 (4.1)<0.001
Height (cm)162.8 (6.1)162.5 (6.6)163.7 (5.9)163.4 (5.7)162.9 (6.0)162.8 (6.2)<0.001
Disability pension (%)4.0 (2.0)5.7 (2.3)2.3 (1.5)3.2 (1.8)4.6 (2.1)3.7 (1.9)<0.001
Sick leave (%)2.8 (1.6)1.4 (1.2)3.8 (1.9)4.3 (2.0)5.2 (2.2)3.9 (1.9)0.003
Family history of CHD (%)§29.9 (4.6)31.9 (4.7)33.2 (4.7)31.8 (4.7)32.8 (4.7)30.9 4.6)0.014
  • Values are mean (SD) or % (SD).

  • *Participants not reporting cardiovascular disease, diabetes or treatment for hypertension, or symptoms of angina pectoris or atherosclerosis obliterans; †p values represent differences between the sustained ex-smokers and the sustained never smokers; ‡physical activity during leisure was graded 1–4, with 4 denoting the heaviest activity; §One or more of parents or siblings reported to have had a heart infarction or angina pectoris.

  • BMI, body mass index; BP, blood pressure; CHD, coronary heart disease.