Smoking Explains Much of Europe's Mortality Gender Gap

Men have excess mortality, and smoking accounts for up to 60 percent of the gender gap

THURSDAY, Jan. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking appears to account for 40 to 60 percent of the gender gap in mortality across Europe, according to research published online Jan. 12 in Tobacco Control.

Gerry McCartney, M.B.Ch.B., of MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow, U.K., and colleagues reviewed data on all-cause, smoking-related, and alcohol-related mortality in 30 European countries to compare the magnitude of the gender gap in mortality in those countries and assess the degree to which smoking and drinking contribute to the gender gap.

The researchers found a considerable range in excess all-cause mortality among European men, from 188 out of 100,000 yearly in Iceland to 942 out of 100,000 in Ukraine. Smoking-related deaths accounted for 40 to 60 percent of the gender gap. Alcohol-related deaths accounted for 20 to 30 percent of the gender gap in Eastern Europe and 10 to 20 percent elsewhere in Europe.

"Smoking continues to be the most important cause of gender differences in mortality across Europe, but its importance as an explanation for this difference is often overshadowed by presumptions about other explanations. Changes in smoking patterns by gender suggest that the gender gap in mortality will diminish in the coming decades," the authors write.

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