Smoking The Cause Of Low U.S. Life Expectancy

smokingWhy does the U.S. spend more on health care than any other nation while its population has a life expectancy lower than in many other developed countries? According to a new government report: smoking. From WebMD:

Life expectancies in the U.S. are now lower than for many other industrialized countries, and the nation’s past love affair with tobacco is largely to blame, government officials say.

In a report released Tuesday, a panel commissioned by the National Research Council sought to explain why the U.S. spends more on health care than any other nation, yet Americans are dying younger than some of their counterparts in other high-income countries.

Over the past two and a half decades, life expectancies continued to rise in the U.S., but at a slower pace than those seen in Australia, Canada, Japan, Great Britain, and other high-income European countries.

The average live expectancy for men in the U.S. was 75.6 years in 2007, compared to around 79 years among men in living in Australia, Japan, and Sweden and between 77 and 78 years among men living in the Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and France.

The life expectancy for women in the U.S. is 80.8 years, which is lower than for any other high-income country included in the analysis except Denmark (80.5 years).

Americans now smoke less than the populations of many other industrialized, high-income countries, but this was not the case in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, panel co-chair Samuel H. Preston, PhD, tells WebMD…

[continues at WebMD]

majestic

Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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34 Comments on "Smoking The Cause Of Low U.S. Life Expectancy"

  1. E.B. Wolf | Jan 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm |

    I call bullshit. The link gives smoking rates for the U.S., but leaves out the smoking rates of other countries to back up its claims that their percentages were lower.

  2. E.B. Wolf | Jan 26, 2011 at 12:02 pm |

    I call bullshit. The link gives smoking rates for the U.S., but leaves out the smoking rates of other countries to back up its claims that their percentages were lower.

  3. I’m with the Wolf…this reeks of WebMD conventional wisdom BS…carefully avoiding the higher life expectancies in countries where cigarettes are even more accessible than here. We’re caught in a Devil’s Triangle of bad, chemical laden food, industrial waste, abominable health care value per dollar spent compared to other developed countries and a whole slew of lesser issues. Throw them all together and only a miracle would improve our lot…not a mere cessation of smoking as pushed by insurance lobbies (who, if their ideals were extended to every potential risk factor, would strip us of the right to even leave the house without padded suits to make sure we don’t claim injuries from minor falls.)

  4. I’m with the Wolf…this reeks of WebMD conventional wisdom BS…carefully avoiding the higher life expectancies in countries where cigarettes are even more accessible than here. We’re caught in a Devil’s Triangle of bad, chemical laden food, industrial waste, abominable health care value per dollar spent compared to other developed countries and a whole slew of lesser issues. Throw them all together and only a miracle would improve our lot…not a mere cessation of smoking as pushed by insurance lobbies (who, if their ideals were extended to every potential risk factor, would strip us of the right to even leave the house without padded suits to make sure we don’t claim injuries from minor falls.)

    • Don’t exclude smoking as a cause, either. Throw it into that triangle and make it a Devil’s Square.

      Hell, throw stressful working environments in and make it a Devil’s Pentagon.

    • VoxMagi, you’re missing the two worse culprits. Lack of exercise, bad fast food diet causing obesity. As well, there is probably stress caused by lack of vacation days, poor employee benefits and low minimum wages (heart attacks aren’t just from bad nutrition).
      Food is so bad, some kids were being diagnosed with scurvy. The few chemicals – well, our body can handle that better than bad bad nutrition and low exercise causing basically disrepair in the whole body.
      Definately in some locations pullution is a concern too.

  5. mrtastycakes | Jan 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm |

    Yup, this is indeed the definition of disinformation. Greece has one of the highest percentages of smoking in the world, about half the population. Their lung cancer death rate is about half of what it is in the US. The pattern is the same for almost every other heavy smoking country in the world (the US is rather far down the list). Clearly, there’s some sort of confounding variable here.

    In fact, wait a minute–this article doesn’t even address smoking-related deaths, just life expectancy. What?!

  6. mrtastycakes | Jan 26, 2011 at 12:14 pm |

    Yup, this is indeed the definition of disinformation. Greece has one of the highest percentages of smoking in the world, about half the population. Their lung cancer death rate is about half of what it is in the US. The pattern is the same for almost every other heavy smoking country in the world (the US is rather far down the list). Clearly, there’s some sort of confounding variable here.

    In fact, wait a minute–this article doesn’t even address smoking-related deaths, just life expectancy. What?!

    • Rex Vestri | Jan 26, 2011 at 2:55 pm |

      Greeks are probably not as iodine deficient as most of the US population is. I firmly believe this has a big effect on cancer rates.

      • mrtastycakes | Jan 26, 2011 at 5:43 pm |

        It’s really a mystery and blaming smoking for our health problems isn’t the whole story. Smoking-related death rates are lower in Europe, where smoking rates are higher and many (most?) do not use filters. For China, where over 60% of the population smokes, they still have a lower rate of lung cancer related deaths than the US–and that’s even with their industrial pollution. This has been studied a few times. One study that I can’t find right now on PubMed showed that it was related to green tea consumption: the more cups/day of tea the smoker consumed the less likely he was to get lung cancer or emphysema. I did find these:
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19487113
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9591195

  7. Don’t exclude smoking as a cause, either. Throw it into that triangle and make it a Devil’s Square.

    Hell, throw stressful working environments in and make it a Devil’s Pentagon.

  8. Anonymous | Jan 26, 2011 at 6:55 pm |

    Greeks are probably not as iodine deficient as most of the US population is. I firmly believe this has a big effect on cancer rates.

  9. WhiteRose | Jan 26, 2011 at 7:35 pm |

    Why does everyone feel the need to live until 100? All these pills and procedures etc have put such a strain on the economy there is no hope for the kiddies. Everything is bad for you it seems but that is why it is so fun, have a drink have a smoke do it responsibly and go out with a smile on your face not a scream!

  10. WhiteRose | Jan 26, 2011 at 3:35 pm |

    Why does everyone feel the need to live until 100? All these pills and procedures etc have put such a strain on the economy there is no hope for the kiddies. Everything is bad for you it seems but that is why it is so fun, have a drink have a smoke do it responsibly and go out with a smile on your face not a scream!

  11. VoxMagi, you’re missing the two worse culprits. Lack of exercise, bad fast food diet causing obesity. As well, there is probably stress caused by lack of vacation days, poor employee benefits and low minimum wages (heart attacks aren’t just from bad nutrition).
    Food is so bad, some kids were being diagnosed with scurvy. The few chemicals – well, our body can handle that better than bad bad nutrition and low exercise causing basically disrepair in the whole body.
    Definately in some locations pullution is a concern too.

  12. Hadrian999 | Jan 26, 2011 at 8:09 pm |

    I’m not sure that is a bad thing, have you seen what the years at the end are like, why would you want more of them, I’d rather die while life is still fun and i don’t need help to take a crap and beautiful woman aren’t a distant memory.

  13. Hadrian999 | Jan 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm |

    I’m not sure that is a bad thing, have you seen what the years at the end are like, why would you want more of them, I’d rather die while life is still fun and i don’t need help to take a crap and beautiful woman aren’t a distant memory.

  14. mrtastycakes | Jan 26, 2011 at 9:43 pm |

    It’s really a mystery and blaming smoking for our health problems isn’t the whole story. Smoking-related death rates are lower in Europe, where smoking rates are higher and many (most?) do not use filters. For China, where over 60% of the population smokes, they still have a lower rate of lung cancer related deaths than the US–and that’s even with their industrial pollution. This has been studied a few times. One study that I can’t find right now on PubMed showed that it was related to green tea consumption: the more cups/day of tea the smoker consumed the less likely he was to get lung cancer or emphysema. I did find these:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19487113
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9591195

  15. E.B. Wolf | Jan 26, 2011 at 11:23 pm |

    I’ll drink to that.

  16. Anonymous | Jan 27, 2011 at 2:12 am |

    bullSHIT, no one even SMOKES here, making me feel like an outcast wherever i go… but yeah, let’s not blame it on the water or shitty food quality. it’s all about tobacco.

  17. bullSHIT, no one even SMOKES here, making me feel like an outcast wherever i go… but yeah, let’s not blame it on the water or shitty food quality. it’s all about tobacco.

    • Ellagood1970 | Feb 23, 2011 at 11:05 pm |

      Its also lack of exersize and eating junk food, but bottom line, smoking is bad for you. Even the most conservative statistics say it causes cancer, respiratory disease etc etc. And if you feel like an outcast its because you stink like high hell. All smokers do. And given what we know about smoking, if you are smoking in public to any half intelligent person, you look like a complete tool.

  18. David Frost | Jan 27, 2011 at 9:05 am |

    I think here in America we have “Rush Limbaughism,” we fill our tubby faces with too many big macs and steaks, pollute the air we breath with giant gas guzzling SUV’s, cook our food with tons of radiation from the microwave, drink water with diluted pharmaceuticals in it, live with waste producing factories next door, smoke our tobacco, and down some liquor with our pills.

    Why? Because that is how capitalistic society makes improvements in the economy…by telling everyone that they need to consume more and that if you buy enough crap you will somehow live with eternal bliss. What your really looking at as a nation of addicts, but with the majority of addiction being to money rather than crack. Either way the negative effects on health are there.

  19. David Frost | Jan 27, 2011 at 5:05 am |

    I think here in America we have “Rush Limbaughism,” we fill our tubby faces with too many big macs and steaks, pollute the air we breath with giant gas guzzling SUV’s, cook our food with tons of radiation from the microwave, drink water with diluted pharmaceuticals in it, live with waste producing factories next door, smoke our tobacco, and down some liquor with our pills.

    Why? Because that is how capitalistic society makes improvements in the economy…by telling everyone that they need to consume more and that if you buy enough crap you will somehow live with eternal bliss. What your really looking at as a nation of addicts, but with the majority of addiction being to money rather than crack. Either way the negative effects on health are there.

    • David Frost | Jan 27, 2011 at 5:11 am |

      But the main reason is that health care doesn’t focus much on preventative care as much in the USA as other countries, that and the insurance companies gotta find ways to make a dollar.

      I guess what I’m saying is that in America health is a giant mess of issues

  20. David Frost | Jan 27, 2011 at 9:11 am |

    But the main reason is that health care doesn’t focus much on preventative care as much in the USA as other countries, that and the insurance companies gotta find ways to make a dollar.

    I guess what I’m saying is that in America health is a giant mess of issues

  21. Ironaddict06 | Jan 27, 2011 at 3:27 pm |

    Yea, it is the whole combination of smoking, lack of exercise, fast food, chemicals in food, etc. that kills Americans.

  22. xx//.//xx | Jan 29, 2011 at 4:21 am |

    wow.thats so stupid. idc what anyone says thats so dumb.

  23. xx//.//xx | Jan 29, 2011 at 12:21 am |

    wow.thats so stupid. idc what anyone says thats so dumb.

  24. kills anyone , just sayinn

  25. Ellagood1970 | Feb 24, 2011 at 3:05 am |

    Its also lack of exersize and eating junk food, but bottom line, smoking is bad for you. Even the most conservative statistics say it causes cancer, respiratory disease etc etc. And if you feel like an outcast its because you stink like high hell. All smokers do. And given what we know about smoking, if you are smoking in public to any half intelligent person, you look like a complete tool.

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