Reuters (3/31, Pittman) reported that nearly half a million mortalities annually in the US are from smoking-related diseases, according to a study in the journal Epidemiology, The researchers analyzed data on about 250,000 people who participated from 2002 to 2006 in a national health survey. By 2006, there were 17,000 deaths. Extrapolating the data to the overall US population, the study authors calculated that roughly 290,000 smoking-related deaths in men and 230,000 in women occurred annually during the same period. The data showed the greatest risk for death occurred in the 65 to 74 age group. When obesity and alcohol consumption were factored in, the researchers estimated that age group had a threefold increased risk for death if they also smoked currently. Reuters noted that a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association substantiates that trend.
High Prices, Inconvenient Policies Prompt More Adolescents To Quit Smoking, Study Finds. Reuters (3/31, Pittman) reported that alerting adolescents to cigarette price increases and new no-smoking rules helped lower the rates of smoking among Australian teens, according to a study in the journal Addiction. From 1990 through 2005, the researchers asked roughly 20,000 high school students, at three-year intervals, whether they had smoked within the last month. The youth were also made aware of cigarette-tax increases and any new anti-smoking policies. Over those 15 years, the Australian teen-smoking rate decreased nearly 50% — from approximately 23% to about 13% — while simultaneously, cigarette costs doubled from 20 cents to 40 cents per cigarette. In contrast, other efforts, such as limiting access to cigarettes, did not lower adolescent smoking rates. Notably, approximately 16% of US high school students currently smoke cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.