The life expectancy of male smokers at age 40 is 3 1/2 years shorter than that of nonsmokers, according to a health ministry study released Tuesday.
The heavier a man smokes, the shorter his life expectancy. The figure was 0.9 years shorter for men smoking at least two packs of cigarettes a day than for those smoking less than a pack a day, the study by a group at the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry showed.
The study is the first in Japan to indicate tobacco’s health effects in term of life expectancy. It was based on a survey of 4,237 men and 5,388 women aged 30 and over who had medical checkups at 300 public health centers in 1980.
Of the 9,625 people surveyed, some 2,000 had died by 1999. The study group, led by Shiga University of Medical Science professor Hirotsugu Ueshima, analyzed smoking habits, death rate by age and other details to come up with the life expectancy estimates.
“The effect of smoking on life expectancy is apparent for men. A similar tendency was observed also for women,” said Yoshitaka Murakami, a lecturer at the university and a member of the study group.
For men, the overall life expectancy at 40 of the 2,666 smokers surveyed was 78.6 years old, while that of the 777 nonsmokers was 82.1, showing a gap of 3.5 years. That of the remaining 794 who had stopped smoking was 80.4. Smokers accounted for 63 percent of the men surveyed.