Smokers sixty and older had an eighty-three percent increased
risk of dying from all causes compared to people who had never
smoked. Smokers also had a thirty-four percent higher risk of death
compared to former smokers.
T.H. Lam is professor in the school of public health at the
University of Hong Kong. He says people who continue to smoke as
seniors have at least a fifty percent chance of dying from their
What about smokers who start at a young age and stop when they
are in their thirties? Dr. Lam says they can reduce their risk of
dying from a smoking-related illness to almost the same level as
someone who never smoked. Even people who never smoke can still die
from breathing other people's secondhand smoke.
An article on smoking among older individuals, with a commentary
by T.H. Lam, appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
In other news, the World Health Organization now says diesel
fuel exhaust causes cancer. Since nineteen eighty-eight the WHO had
rated exhaust from diesel engines as "probably carcinogenic" to
humans. Now, it compares the risk to that of secondhand cigarette
This month's announcement came after international experts spent
a week reviewing new research findings. Those included a long-term
study of more than twelve thousand miners who were heavily exposed
to diesel exhaust.
The diesel industry pointed out that the mining study lacked
exact data on exposure levels during its early years. Also, diesel
engine makers point to their new designs that produce far less
emissions than older truck and bus engines.