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Invited Commentary
June 11, 2012

Absolute Risk of Tobacco Deaths: One in Two Smokers Will Be Killed by SmokingComment on “Smoking and All-Cause Mortality in Older People”

Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(11):845-846. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.1927

Smoking kills by causing serious diseases, as confirmed by many systematic reviews and meta-analyses on specific diseases. The US Surgeon General Report does not include total mortality.1 The first meta-analysis on total mortality by Shavelle et al2 on 14 cohort studies in men showed that the relative risk (RR) in light, medium (10-15 cigarettes per day), and heavy smokers was 1.47, 2.02, and 2.38, respectively. In women, the RRs from 11 studies were similar (1.50, 2.02, and 2.66, respectively). The average age of the cohorts ranged from 30 to 65 years or older, with no significant trend of RR with age in either sex.2

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