A new analysis to mark the 50th anniversary of ASH finds that smoking killed nearly 8 million people in the UK over the last 50 years with an estimated 2 million more expected to die in the next 20 years without radical changes to smoking rates.
The modelling was by Professor Sir Richard Peto, world renowned epidemiologist and statistician, who worked with Sir Richard Doll on the health risks of smoking. In the 1950s Doll and Sir Austin Bradford Hill had established the full impact of smoking on the health of the population, and following Hill’s retirement Peto joined Doll to continue this research. Their work showed that in the 1970s the UK had the worst death rate from smoking in the world, with half of male deaths in middle age and a quarter of those among women caused by smoking.
If the same proportion of adults smoked today as in 1971 there would be an additional 18 million smokers in the UK today, losing on average 10 years life expectancy because of their addiction.
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