Heavy Smoking Ages You 10 Years
Smoking Not Only Shortens Life Expectancy, It Also Affects the Quality of Life in Old Age
WebMD News Archive
Oct. 13, 2008 -- Not only does smoking shorten life expectancy, it also has a
significant impact on the quality of life in old age, according to a new
The Finnish study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine,
evaluated data on 1,658 white men born between 1919 and 1934 of similar
socioeconomic status. They were participating in the Helsinki Businessmen
study. At the start of the study, in 1974, all men were healthy. Their
cardiovascular risks and smoking habits were evaluated at that time. The men
were re-evaluated 26 years later through surveys. At that time, there had been
Participants who had never smoked lived an average of 10 years longer than
heavy smokers (defined as more than 20 cigarettes per day). The quality of life
of the surviving participants was measured using a survey scale that measures
health-related quality of life in categories including physical functioning,
role limitations caused by health problems, role limitations caused by
emotional problems, social functioning, emotional well-being, fatigue/energy, and general health perception.
The greatest difference was between those who had never smoked and heavy
smokers. Two categories where the differences were particularly stark: physical
functioning and role limitations caused by health issues.
Nearly 70% of the heavy smokers in 1974 had quit by 2000. However, the
researchers write that the effect of smoking status at the start of the study
still had a strong impact on death and quality of life.