CDC - Preventing Chronic Disease: Volume 9, 2012: 11_0295
Estimating Benefits of Past, Current, and Future Reductions in Smoking Rates Using a Comprehensive Model With Competing Causes of Death
Jeroen van Meijgaard, PhD; Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, MBA
Suggested citation for this article: van Meijgaard J, Fielding JE. Estimating Benefits of Past, Current, and Future Reductions in Smoking Rates Using a Comprehensive Model With Competing Causes of Death. Prev Chronic Dis 2012;9:110295. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd9.110295.
Despite years of declining smoking prevalence, tobacco use is still the leading preventable contributor to illness and death in the United States, and the effect of past tobacco-use control efforts has not fully translated into improvements in health outcomes. The objective of this study was to use a life course model with multiple competing causes of death to elucidate the ongoing benefits of tobacco-use control efforts on US death rates.
We used a continuous-time life course simulation model for the US population. We modeled smoking initiation and cessation and 20 leading causes of death as competing risks over the life span, with the risk of death for each cause dependent on past and current smoking status. Risk parameters were estimated using data from the National Health Interview Survey that were linked to follow-up mortality data.
Up to 14% (9% for men, 14% for women) of the total gain in life expectancy since 1960 was due to tobacco-use control efforts. Past efforts are expected to further increase life expectancy by 0.9 years for women and 1.3 years for men. Additional reduction in smoking prevalence may eventually yield an average 3.4-year increase in life expectancy in the United States. Coronary heart disease is expected to increase as a share of total deaths.
A dynamic individual-level model with multiple causes of death supports assessment of the delayed benefits of improved tobacco-use control efforts. We show that past smoking reduction efforts will translate into further increases in life expectancy in the coming years. Smoking will remain a major contributor to preventable illness and death, worthy of continued interventions.