New Year’s tip: the benefit of not smoking


Are you looking to quit smoking now that the new year is here? Then the statistics below – from a new article in The Lancet – may make you go for it.

A Decade

The graphs below illustrate how big the chance is for a 30-year-old to survive until a certain age, depending on wether they smoke or not:


What do the graphs show us? That non-smokers live on average a decade longer than smokers. The chance of reaching your 80th birthday is now good in the western world… unless you’re a smoker. Then you’ll probably die earlier.

Previous smokers who quit, according to the same article, dramatically improve their odds. They will live almost as long as people who never smoked.

Do you want to see your grandchildren grow up? Then dump the cigarettes.

The Taxation Route

The article also includes intriguing figures on what happens in countries applying a hefty penalty tax on cigarettes. Presumably, a similar tax on sugar would yield similar results:

The statistics below show what happened when France and South Africa in the early 1990’s began to increase the tax on cigarettes dramatically. The price gradually tripled… and smoking in the population suddenly plummeted.



A three-fold increase in price was in both countries followed by the smoking rate being cut to less than half. Which country will be the first to triple the price of soda?


  1. 1 comment removed
  2. Thu Tran
    Great job! I'm looking for these statistical data. Thanks a lot for giving us great information. Hope to read more writing from you. Have a nice day.
  3. Rock
    Be careful what you wish for. Instead of a tax on sugar you might rather get a tax on fat.

    I just don't believe you should count on the state for keeping the public healthy. It hasn't worked in the past, why should it work now?

    Education is much better. Thank you for your constant efforts.

  4. cndnrose
    Of course, they won't tax diet sodas, and fruit juices, because they are 'healthy'
  5. cave horse
    Education and persuasion are always preferable to violence.
  6. ondrej
    A better solution would be to ration the cigarettes to a pack per month.
  7. Scott UK
    Help me out here… does this mean that if you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, from the age of 20 to 60, and then die (instead of living to, say, 70), then each cigarette took 18 minutes off your life?

    10 years = 10 x 365 x 24 x 60 = 5256000 minutes
    20 cigarettes a day for 40 years = 20 x 40 x 365 = 292000 cigarettes
    5256000 minutes / 292000 cigarettes = 18 minutes per cigarette

    (Presumably, people who smoke fewer cigarettes live longer, but the per cigarette figure might be similar.)

  8. lisa
    Ive heard so many people say their health went downhill after they quit smoking. I believe it is a healing process that will be painful with an appearance of immune compromise and take a long time to work through. Does anyone have similar observations?

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