Every Cigarette Takes
11 Minutes Off
Man's Life
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Male smokers are robbed of an average of 11 minutes of lifespan with each cigarette smoked, UK researchers estimate.
Smokers could be missing out on a lot of living, they say, pointing out that 11 minutes is enough for a phone call to a friend, a healthy walk, or a bout of "fairly frantic sexual intercourse.''
Dr. Mary Shaw and colleagues, from the University of Bristol in England, based the estimate on data from a survey of British households. They calculated that the typical male smoker "will consume a total of 311,688 cigarettes'' from age 17 until death at age 71.
In a separate analysis, they found that a lifetime of smoking reduces the lifespan of the average male smoker by 6.5 years, compared with non-smokers. This means, the research team writes, that "each cigarette has cost him, on average, 11 minutes of life.''
Eliminating a full carton of cigarettes would buy the smoker an extra day and a half of life " enough time to fly round the world, take in a Wagner opera, or enjoy a "romantic night away,'' the researchers say.
SOURCE: British Medical Journal 2000;320:53.
Smoking A Major Problem Among
Teens And Around The World
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Maybe everyone you know has quit smoking, but according to the American Heart Association (AHA), the habit is on the rise among teens in the US and is a rising cause of death in people around the world.
In fact, smoking-related deaths worldwide are expected to triple over the next century, according to the AHA.
"Anyone who sees these statistics should be very concerned,'' AHA president Dr. Lynn Smaha said in a statement, referring to an annual report released Thursday called 2000 Heart and Stroke Statistical Update.
Smoking is already responsible for about 1 in 5 deaths from cardiovascular disease, which is the number one cause of death in the US for both men and women, according to the report. Separately, the World Health Organization has estimated that 3 million people died from tobacco use in 1990, a figure that will increase to 10 million by 2025.
Two particular areas of concern in the US are teen smoking and the effects of secondhand tobacco smoke,according to the report.
From 1988 to 1996, the number of adolescents ages 12 to 17 who started smoking increased by 30%, and the number who say they smoke every day increased by 50%. "If these trends continue, about 5 million of these teenagers will eventually die from a smoking-related disease,'' Smaha says.
The report also indicates that more than 40% of all US children under 12 are exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke in the home. Moreover, close to half of working adults are exposed to secondhand smoke, at home and/or at work. This exposure increases the risk of death from heart disease by up to 30%, the AHA warns.
"Smoking is a risk factor that people can control,'' Smaha notes. "It's a logical place to focus our attention in our efforts to reduce deaths from heart disease and stroke in the coming century.''
Visit the AHA website at for more information about quitting smoking and preventing heart disease and stroke.


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