What Is the Average Lifespan of a Smoker?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 30, 2020 8:48:43 AM ET
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A well-known study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that smoking can reduce one’s lifespan by up to 10 years. The average lifespan of a smoker depends on when they start or stop smoking; however, if a smoker quits before the age of 35, they can regain the lost life expectancy.

Smokers have a death rate approximately three times higher than the rest of the population, said a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Most of these deaths were the result of "neoplastic, vascular, respiratory, and other diseases" caused by smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is the "leading preventable cause of death in the United States" and causes more than 480,000 deaths per year. Smoking doubles one’s chances of a heart attack or stroke and increases one’s chances of developing lung cancer by 25 times. Quitting will drastically reduce one’s risk for most of the aforementioned medical difficulties during a period of one to five years, and halve one’s chances of developing lung cancer in 10 years.