Volume 36 - Article 8 | Pages 255-280

Contribution of smoking-attributable mortality to life-expectancy differences by marital status among Finnish men and women, 1971-2010

By Riina Peltonen, Jessica Y. Ho, Irma T. Elo, Pekka Martikainen

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Date received:02 May 2016
Date published:13 Jan 2017
Word count:6284
Keywords:health behaviors, health disparities, life expectancy, marital status, mortality, smoking
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2017.36.8
 

Abstract

Background: Smoking is known to vary by marital status, but little is known about its contribution to marital status differences in longevity. We examined the changing contribution of smoking to mortality differences between married and never married, divorced or widowed Finnish men and women aged 50 years and above in 1971-2010.

Methods: The data sets cover all persons permanently living in Finland in the census years 1970, 1975 through 2000 and 2005 with a five-year mortality follow-up. Smoking-attributable mortality was estimated using an indirect method that uses lung cancer mortality as an indicator for the impact of smoking on mortality from all other causes.

Results: Life expectancy differences between the married and the other marital status groups increased rapidly over the 40-year study period because of the particularly rapid decline in mortality among married individuals. In 1971-1975 37-48% of life expectancy differences between married and divorced or widowed men were attributable to smoking, and this contribution declined to 11-18% by 2006-2010. Among women, in 1971-1975 up to 16% of life expectancy differences by marital status were due to smoking, and the contribution of smoking increased over time to 10-29% in 2006-2010.

Conclusions: In recent decades smoking has left large but decreasing imprints on marital status differences in longevity between married and previously married men, and small but increasing imprints on these differences among women. Over time the contribution of other factors, such as increasing material disadvantage or alcohol use, may have increased.

Contribution: This study demonstrates the importance of smoking in shaping mortality differences by marital status.

Author's Affiliation

Riina Peltonen - Helsingin Yliopisto (University of Helsinki), Finland [Email]
Jessica Y. Ho - Duke University, United States of America [Email]
Irma T. Elo - University of Pennsylvania, United States of America [Email]
Pekka Martikainen - Helsingin Yliopisto (University of Helsinki), Finland [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» The role of smoking on mortality compression: An analysis of Finnish occupational social classes, 1971-2010
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» Age patterns of racial/ethnic/nativity differences in disability and physical functioning in the United States
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» Age-specific fertility by educational level in the Finnish male cohort born 1940‒1950
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» The effects of socioeconomic and cultural characteristics of regions on the spatial patterns of the Second Demographic Transition in Finland
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» Educational differences in all-cause mortality by marital status: Evidence from Bulgaria, Finland and the United States
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» Cause-specific contributions to sex differences in adult mortality among whites and African Americans between 1960 and 1995
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» Cause-specific contributions to black-white differences in male mortality from 1960 to 1995
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» Increasing excess mortality among non-married elderly people in developed countries
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