High relative risk of all-cause mortality attributed to smoking in China: Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study

Tai Hing Lam, Lin Xu, Chao Qiang Jiang, Wei Sen Zhang, Xiao-Feng Zhu, Ya Li Jin, G Neil Thomas, Kar Cheng

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Background: Prediction of disease burden in China arising from smoking based on earlier cohorts in the West and China could not reflect the disease burden at the current stage accurately. No cohort studies in China focused specifically on people born since 1950. We examined the risk of all-cause mortality attributed to smoking in adults in Guangzhou, the city with the most rapidly expanding economy in China.
Methods and Findings: This population-based prospective cohort included 21,658 women and 8,284 men aged 50+ years enrolled from 2003-2008 and followed until January 2016. During an average follow-up of 8.8 (standard deviation=1.8) years, 2,986 (1,586 women, 1,400 men) deaths were recorded. After adjustment for confounders, the hazards ratios (95% confidence interval (CI)) of all-cause mortality in current versus never smokers increased from 1.61 (95% CI 1.45-1.80) in those born in 1920-1939 to 2.02 (95% CI 1.74-2.34), and 4.40 (95% CI 3.14-6.17), in those born in the 1940s and 1950s, respectively (P for trend 0.009).
Conclusions: In smokers born after 1949 in Guangzhou and other areas which have the longest history of smoking, the mortality risk could have reached three fold that of non-smokers, as in the UK, US and Australia. If confirmed, unless China quickly and strictly complies with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control with massive smoking cessation in the population, this is a more striking warning that China will be facing an even larger disease burden from tobacco use than previous forecasts.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0196610
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2018


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