Impact of Smoking on Life Expectancy and Disability

Smokers spend a larger proportion of their lives coping with functional disabilities than do non-smokers, and they are far more likely to die prematurely, according to a study on the relationship between smoking and disability-free life expectancy.

The study, which analyzes data from the National Population Health Survey, found that smoking not only reduces the number of years that a person may hope to live, it also has a negative impact on their quality of life. Smoking has been associated with a variety of chronic conditions ranging from bronchitis to asthma to high blood pressure.

Of every 100 non-smoking men aged 45 in 1995, about 90 will survive to the age of 65, and 55 will still be living at the age of 80.

However, of every 100 male smokers aged 45, 80 will survive to the age of 65, and fewer than 30 will still be living at the age of 80.

Among women, the percentage of survivors is higher for both smokers and non-smokers. However, the consequences of tobacco use are just as evident. Among women who were aged 45 in 1995, about 70% of non-smokers will survive to the age of 80, compared with only about 40% of those who smoked.

Data also show that non-smokers are expected to live a higher proportion of their life without any disability. Among both men and women, two-thirds of non-smokers will survive without any disability to the age of 65, compared with less than half of smokers. In addition, 25% of male non-smokers and 30% of female non-smokers who live to the age of 80 will have no disability, compared with less than 10% for both men and women who smoke.