Aims: To compare the burden of cardiovascular disease in terms of lifetime risk and life years lived with disease between smokers and non-smokers. Methods and results: We constructed multi-state life tables describing transitions through various cardiovascular diseases for 4723 smokers and non-smokers observed during 20 biannual observations in the Original Framingham Heart Study. Non-smokers live 8.66 (95% CI 7.61-9.63) (men) and 7.59 (95% CI 6.33-8.92) (women) years longer than smokers and more years free of cardiovascular disease: 6.22 (95% CI 5.09-7.30) years for mates and 4.93 (95% CI 3.54-6.29) for females. But non-smokers spend more years with cardiovascular disease over the life course: 2.43 (95% CI 1.72-3.16) years for mates and 2.66 (95% CI 1.87-3.38) years for females. The risk of cardiovascular disease before age 70 is higher among smokers, but over the entire lifecourse male non-smokers have higher risks of coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, stroke and congestive heart failure, and female non-smokers have higher risks of coronary heart disease and congestive heart failure. Conclusion: Smoking, by shortening life, decreases both the probability and duration of cardiovascular disease throughout the life course. Non-smokers live many years longer and longer free of cardiovascular disease than smokers, but at the end of their life non-smokers will have lived longer with cardiovascular disease.

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European Heart Journal
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Al Mamun, A., Peeters, A., Barendregt, J., Willekens, F., Nusselder, W., & Bonneux, L. (2004). Smoking decreases the duration of life lived with and without cardiovascular disease: A life course analysis of the Framingham Heart Study. European Heart Journal, 25(5), 409–415. doi:10.1016/j.ehj.2003.12.015