Light cigarette smoking increases risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality: Findings from the nhis cohort study

Wen Qin, Costan G. Magnussen, Shengxu Li, Lyn M. Steffen, Bo Xi, Min Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Very few studies have examined the association between light cigarette smoking(i.e.,≤5 cigarettes per day) and mortality. The aim of this study was to examine the association of light cigarette smoking with all-cause and cause-specific mortality among adults in the United States. Data were from 13 waves of the National Health Interview Survey (1997 to 2009) that were linked to the National Death Index records through December 31, 2011. A total of 329,035 participants aged ≥18 years in the United States were included. Deaths were from all cause, cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and respiratory disease and were confirmed by death certification. During a median follow-up of 8.2 years, 34,862 participants died, of which 8415 were from cancer, 9031 from CVD, and 2040 from respiratory disease. Compared with never-smokers, participants who smoked 1–2 (hazard ratios (HR)=1.94, 95%CI=1.73–2.16) and 3–5 cigarettes (HR=1.99, 1.83–2.17) per day were at higher risk of all-cause mortality after adjustment for demographic variables, lifestyle factors and physician-diagnosis of chronic disease. The associations were stronger for respiratory disease-specific mortality, followed by cancer-specific mortality and CVD-specific mortality. For example, the HRs (95% CIs) of smoking 1–2 cigarettes per day were 9.75 (6.15–15.46), 2.28 (1.84–2.84) and 1.93 (1.58–2.36), respectively, for these three cause-specific mortalities. This study indicates that light cigarette smoking increases risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality in US adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5122
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: Costan G. Magnussen is supported by a National Heart Foundation of Australia Future Leader Fellowship (100849). The sponsors had no role in the study design, survey process, data analysis or manuscript preparation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Light smoking
  • Mortality
  • Prospective


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