<Starting to smoke in childhood doubles the danger of premature death>
The greatest risk is for those that start smoking before age 15, or maybe before age 10 Quitting smoking
before 40 (preferably well before 40) avoids more than 90% of the risk Smoking causes about 100,000
deaths every week worldwide, which is even quite COVID is now
causing. Most smokers start before age 20, and in countries like Cuba or the US where tobacco is grown
many start in childhood (before age 15) and a few even start before 10. Prospective studies in Cuban and
US adults now show that starting smoking in childhood is especially dangerous.
Starting to smoke in childhood doubles the danger of premature death, consistent with a replacement
study published today within the Lancet Global Health. The greatest risk is for those that start smoking
before the age of 10. However, stopping before age 40 substantially reduces the surplus risk of death.
UK and US researchers from the Nuffield Department of Population Health (NDPH) at Oxford University,
together with Cuban researchers from the National Institute of Cardiology in Havana, led a prospective
study of smoking and mortality that included 120,000 men and ladies age 30-70 in five Cuban provinces.
Participants were asked whether or not they smoked and the way old that they had been once they
started smoking. They were then followed for an average of 17 years to compare their risks of premature
death (before age 70).
This Cuban study found that those that had began to smoke before age 15 had twice the danger of
premature death of these who had never smoked, with even greater risks among those that had began to
smoke before age 10. Although it had been expected that smoking from such young ages would carry
considerable health risks, the magnitude of those risks weren't known.
One-third of the present smokers had begun smoking regularly before age 15, and 4% had begun
smoking regularly before age 10. Among those that began smoking before age 15, approximately half
would eventually be killed by their habit. However, quitting smoking before about age 40 (preferably well
before 40) avoids quite 90% of the surplus risk of death, as within the UK and other populations.