Study explores link between mortality risk and combustible tobacco use

Bottom Line: Contemporary population estimates suggest that like cigarette-only smokers, current cigar-only and pipe-only smokers have a higher risk of dying from cancers known to be caused by tobacco, and cigarette and cigar smokers have a higher risk of death from any cause compared with people who never used tobacco.

Why The Research Is Interesting: Updated estimates on the risk of death associated with combustible tobacco products are needed.

Who and When: 357,420 participants in the National Longitudinal Mortality Study (NLMS), a nationally representative health survey, who reported exclusively using cigars, pipes or cigarettes or reported never using tobacco products from surveys starting in 1985 and who were followed up for mortality through 2011

What (Study Measures): Current or former exclusive use of any cigar, traditional pipe or cigarette and never tobacco use (exposures); death and its cause identified on death certificates (outcome)

How (Study Design): This was an observational study. Researchers were not intervening for purposes of the study and cannot control all the natural differences that could explain the study findings.

Authors: Carol H. Christensen, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Center for Tobacco Products at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland, and coauthors

Study Conclusions: These data underscore the importance of cessation to reduce mortality and illness from combustible tobacco use.

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