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Pulmonary function, smoking cessation and 30 year mortality in middle aged Finnish men
  1. Margit Pelkonena,b,
  2. Hannu Tukiainenb,
  3. Markku Tervahautaa,
  4. Irma-Leena Notkolaa,
  5. Sirkka-Liisa Kiveläc,
  6. Yrjö Salorinned,
  7. Aulikki Nissinena
  1. aUniversity of Kuopio, Department of Public Health and General Practice, Kuopio, Finland, bKuopio University Hospital, Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Kuopio, Finland, cUniversity of Oulu, Department of Public Health Science and General Practice and Oulu University Hospital, Unit of General Practice, Finland, dLaakso Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
  1. Dr M Pelkonen, Univ. of Kuopio, Dept. of Public Health and General Practice, PO Box 1627, FIN-70211 Kuopio, Finland email: Margit.Pelkonen{at}


BACKGROUND Although it is well known that impaired pulmonary function is a strong predictor of mortality and that smoking decreases pulmonary function, little is known about the long term effect of smoking cessation on mortality at different levels of pulmonary function. We have studied the impact of smoking cessation on mortality over the entire range of baseline pulmonary function.

METHODS The study subjects consisted of men aged 40–59 at entry who were the Finnish participants in the Seven Countries Study during 1959–89.

RESULTS In all the participants (n = 1582) impaired forced expiratory volume in 0.75 seconds (FEV0.75) was significantly associated with increased all cause mortality. When those who gave up smoking during the follow up period were compared with continuous smokers (n = 860) all cause mortality was found to be decreased among those who quit. The relative adjusted hazard (HR) was 0.71 (95% confidence interval 0.50 to 1.00). The median survival time in those who stopped smoking compared with those who continued to smoke from 1969 onwards was 7.65, 7.59, and 6.30 years longer in the lowest, middle and highest tertiles of adjusted FEV0.75 distribution, respectively. In those who gave up smoking, mortality from cardiovascular causes was significantly lower (HR 0.60 (95% CI 0.37 to 0.98)).

CONCLUSIONS These findings suggest that smokers across the entire range of pulmonary function may increase their expectation of lifespan by giving up smoking.

  • respiratory function
  • mortality
  • smoking cessation
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  • Supported by grants from the Finnish Academy, the Finnish Lung Health Association, the Finnish Anti-Tuberculosis Association Foundation, and the National Institute on Aging, USA (grant EDC-1 1 RO1 AGO8762-01A1).

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