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Life expectancies of cigarette smokers and nonsmokers in the United States


  • Rogers, Richard G.
  • Powell-Griner, Eve


This research employs the National Health Interview and the National Mortality Followback Surveys to calculate life expectancies by age and sex for white nonsmokers,former smokers, and current smokers in the United States in 1986. In general, life expectancies are higher for never smokers than for former smokers, and higher for former smokers than for current smokers. Heavy smokers have lower life expectancies than persons with all other smoking statuses; indeed, compared to never smokers, heavy smokers at age 25 can expect at least a 25% shorter life. Gender differences in life expectancies were found to persist even with the elimination of smoking. Differences in life expectancy by sex thus appear to be due, in part, to cigarette smoking, but also to occupational, environmental, and sociodemographic factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Rogers, Richard G. & Powell-Griner, Eve, 1991. "Life expectancies of cigarette smokers and nonsmokers in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 1151-1159, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:32:y:1991:i:10:p:1151-1159

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Temin, Peter, 1983. "Costs and benefits in switching drugs from Rx to OTC," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 187-205, December.
    2. Foster, S. D., 1990. "Improving the supply and use of essential drugs in sub-Saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 456, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jerome Adda & Valérie Lechene, 2004. "On the identification of the effect of smoking on mortality," CeMMAP working papers CWP13/04, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. Pierre-Carl Michaud & Dana Goldman & Darius Lakdawalla & Adam Gailey & Yuhui Zheng, 2009. "International Differences in Longevity and Health and their Economic Consequences," NBER Working Papers 15235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Pierre-Carl Michaud & Dana Goldman & Darius Lakdawalla & Yuhui Zheng & Adam Gailey, 2009. "Understanding the Economic Consequences of Shifting Trends in Population Health," NBER Working Papers 15231, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Mark V. Pauly & Kate H. Withers & Krupa Subramanian-Viswana & Jean Lemaire & John C. Hershey, 2003. "Price Elasticity of Demand for Term Life Insurance and Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 9925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Griffin, Barbara & Loh, Vanessa & Hesketh, Beryl, 2013. "A mental model of factors associated with subjective life expectancy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 79-86.
    6. Shantanu Bagchi & James Feigenbaum, 2014. "Is Smoking a Fiscal Good?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(1), pages 170-190, January.
    7. Michaud, Pierre-Carl & Goldman, Dana & Lakdawalla, Darius & Gailey, Adam & Zheng, Yuhui, 2011. "Differences in health between Americans and Western Europeans: Effects on longevity and public finance," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 254-263, July.
    8. Marc Luy & Paola Di Giulio, 2006. "The impact of health behaviors and life quality on gender differences in mortality," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2006-035, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.


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