New research published in the journal BMC Medicine shows that the death toll on smokers is as high as two-thirds.
“We knew smoking was bad,” said lead author Professor Emily Banks of the Australian National University. “But we now have direct independent evidence that confirms the disturbing findings that have been emerging internationally.”
Australian researchers completed a four year analysis of more than 250,000 people participating in the Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study, the largest ongoing study of healthy aging in the Southern Hemisphere. The average smoker will die 10 years earlier than non-smokers, according to the study.
At just 13 percent, Australia has one of the lowest smoking populations in the world. But the risk of death remains just as high as everywhere else.
“Even with the very low rates of smoking that we have in Australia we found that smokers have around three-fold the risk of premature death of those who have never smoked,” said Banks.
Older studies reported that about half of all smokers would die of smoking related illnesses. But this study confirms other recent studies published in Britain that said the number is now at about 67 percent of all smokers.
The current report found that the average smoker spent 35 years on the habit and smoked 15 cigarettes per day. For those indulging in a pack a day, their death rate increases up to five times as much as non-smokers.
“Mortality rates increased substantially with increasing intensity of smoking, with rates approximately doubling in those smoking around 10 cigarettes per day and four- to five-fold those of never-smokers in current smokers of 25 or more cigarettes per day,” according to the study.