Tobacco Control and the Reduction in Smoking-Related Premature Deaths in the United States, 1964-2012

This study was conducted as part of the 50th anniversary of the first time the surgeon general released a report on smoking and its effects on health.  The purpose of the study was to determine the effects that tobacco control has had on smoking-related mortality.

The study was conducted by estimating the smoking histories of people under actual conditions and under conditions that would have occurred if tobacco control had not happened.  Mortality rates were determined using analytical studies that show the effect smoking has on death rates.  The actual mortalities caused by smoking from the year 1964 through 2012 were then compared to the estimated mortalities that would have occurred with no tobacco control.  The main outcomes of the study were to show the number of deaths avoided, the years of life saved and the change in life expectancy at age 40.

The study showed that 8.0 million fewer premature smoking-related deaths occurred because of tobacco control.  Additionally, 157 million years of life were saved, which divides into an average of 19.6 years per person.  During this 48-year period, the life expectancies of men and women increased by 7.8 and 5.4 years, respectively.  From the study it was found that 2.3 years for men and 1.6 years for women can be connected with tobacco control.

I found this study interesting because it shows the effects of tobacco control on a large scale.  A lot of time and money has been spent on this topic and it is still a heavily talked about issue.  While smoking rates are down, there are people who still smoke and who do not fully understand the consequences.  This study shows that the time and money spent had a purpose and shows that continuing to shine a light on the topic will have real effects.

Holford, Theodore R., Rafael Meza, Kenneth E. Warner, Clare Meernik, Jihyoun Jeon, Suresh H. Moolgavkar, and David T. Levy. “Tobacco Control and the Reduction in Smoking-Related Premature Deaths in the United States, 1964-2012.” Jama 311.2 (2014): 164. Web.