From: SAX INSTITUTE via EurekAlert
Published February 24, 2015 06:57 AM

Risk of death from smoking higher than thought

A large Australian study of more than 200,000 people has provided independent confirmation that up to two in every three smokers will die from their habit if they continue to smoke.

The research, published today in the international journal BMC Medicine, is the first evidence from a broad cross-section of the population to show the smoking-related death toll is as high as two thirds. 

"We knew smoking was bad but we now have direct independent evidence that confirms the disturbing findings that have been emerging internationally, said lead author Professor Emily Banks, Scientific Director of the Sax Institute's 45 and Up Study and a researcher at the Australian National University. 

"Even with the very low rates of smoking that we have in Australia we found that smokers have around three-fold the risk of premature death of those who have never smoked. We also found smokers will die an estimated 10 years earlier than non-smokers." 

Until relatively recently it was thought that about half of smokers would die of a smoking-related illness, but newer studies in UK women, British doctors and Amercian Cancer Society volunteers have put the figure much higher, at up to 67%.

Scott Walsberger, Tobacco Control Manager at Cancer Council NSW, said the research results highlighted an important message for smokers: "It's never too late to quit ? no matter what your age, or how much you smoke."

Nervous smoker image via Shutterstock.

Read more at EurekAlert.

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