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Smoking and mortality in Eastern Europe: results from the PrivMort retrospective cohort study of 177,376 individuals

Stefler, Denes, Murphy, Michael J., Irdam, Darja, Horvat, Pia, Jarvis, Martin, King, Lawrence, McKee, Martin and Bobak, Martin (2018) Smoking and mortality in Eastern Europe: results from the PrivMort retrospective cohort study of 177,376 individuals. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 20 (6). pp. 749-754. ISSN 1462-2203

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Identification Number: 10.1093/ntr/ntx122


Background. The estimated prevalence of smoking and proportion of deaths due to tobacco in Eastern European countries are among the highest in the world. Existing estimates of mortality attributable to smoking in the region are mostly indirect. The aim of this analysis was to calculate the proportion of tobacco-attributed deaths in three Eastern European countries using individual level cohort data. Methods. The PrivMort project established a cohort of relatives of participants in population sample surveys in Russia, Belarus and Hungary. Survey participants provided data on smoking habits and vital statistics of their close relatives between 1982 and 2013. Population attributable risk fractions (PARF) in men (n=99,528) and women (n=77,848) aged 40-79 years were calculated from the prevalence rates of smoking and hazard ratios of mortality for smokers vs. non-smokers. Trends in PARF over four 8-year time periods (1982-1989, 1990-1997, 1998-2005 and 2006-2013) were examined. Results. In men in the most recent period (2006-2013), the proportions of deaths attributable to tobacco were 23% in Russia, 22% in Belarus and 22% in Hungary. The respective estimates in women were lower (2%, 2% and 13%), possibly due to underestimation of smoking prevalence. PARF estimates have declined slightly since the early 1990s in men but increased in women. Conclusions. Consistently with existing indirect estimates, our results based on individual level cohort data suggest that over one fifth of all deaths in men aged 40-79 years are attributable to tobacco. While these proportions are lower in women, the increasing trend is a major concern. IMPLICATIONS This is the first large scale, individual-level cohort study which estimated the mortality attributable to tobacco smoking directly in Eastern European population samples. The results confirm previous indirect estimates and show that more than 20% of all deaths in Eastern European men can be attributed to tobacco. The study also confirms the increasing trend in smoking-related deaths among women. These findings emphasize the importance of targeted policy interventions in Eastern European countries.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 The Authors
Divisions: Social Policy
LSE Health
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2017 12:09
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:22
Projects: 269036
Funders: European Research Council

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