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Men who smoke might shorten their lives, a new European study says

January 18, 2011|By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
(Susana Vera / Reuters )

Hey, guys, here's another reason to stop smoking -- it might increase your chances of living as long as a wife, girlfriend, sister or gal pal. Deaths linked to smoking have been identified as the key reason why European women outlive men.

The study published Tuesday in Tobacco Control looked at data collected by the World Health Organization for 30 countries for the year closest to 2005. It says in part:

"Smoking-related deaths accounted for around 40% to 60% of the gender gap, while alcohol-related mortality typically accounted for 20% to 30% of the gender gap in Eastern Europe and 10% to 20% elsewhere in Europe." Check out the full study here.

The researchers note that a change in smoking patterns could alter these differences. In the U.S., for example, men are more likely to smoke than women and have higher rates of lung cancer deaths. But because women came to the smoking habit -- and left it -- more recently than men, their rates of lung cancer are growing, as men's rates decline.

Overall in the U.S., smoking is still the leading cause of preventable deaths. But the European data drive home what men and women everywhere surely must already know. Smoking isn't especially conducive to live a long, much less healthy, life.

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