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Cutting Smoking in Half Doesn't Impact Early Death

No change in all-cause death for men and women who cut down daily cigarettes by 50 percent or more

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Reducing cigarette consumption by more than 50 percent does not significantly lower the risk for all-cause mortality, death due to cardiovascular disease or smoking-related cancer for men and women, according to a report in the December issue of Tobacco Control.

Aage Tverdal, Ph.D., of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo, Norway, and a colleague evaluated absolute mortality and adjusted relative risks for all-cause death in a prospective cohort study of 24,959 men and 26,251 women who were screened for cardiovascular disease risk factors and followed for three to 13 years.

Using heavy smokers (those smoking 15 or more cigarettes a day) as reference, smokers who reduced cigarette smoking by 50 percent or more had an adjusted relative risk of 1.02 percent for all-cause death, 1.02 for cardiovascular disease, 0.96 for ischemic heart disease, 0.86 for smoking-related cancer and 0.66 for lung cancer.

"Long-term follow-up provides no evidence that heavy smokers who cut down their daily cigarette consumption by more than 50 percent reduce their risk of premature death significantly. In health education and patient counseling, it may give people false expectations to advise that reduction in consumption is associated with reduction in harm," the authors conclude.

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