Sex-specific associations between smoking habits and reaching longevity: Netherlands Cohort Study

Lloyd Brandts*, Piet A. van den Brandt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


AimTobacco smoking has been found to be significantly associated with a decreased chance of reaching longevity in men, but not in women. Furthermore, it is still unclear how the association of smoking status with longevity varies under the influence of underlying smoking characteristics. Therefore, we aimed to quantify the association between several smoking characteristics and the chance of reaching the age of 90years in men and women separately. MethodsWe carried out a prospective cohort study among the oldest birth cohorts (1916-1917) of the Netherlands Cohort Study, who completed a baseline questionnaire in 1986 (at ages 68-70), and had complete vital status information until 90years-of-age (2006-2007, n=7807). Multivariable-adjusted analyses were based on 6642 men and women, of which 16.0% and 34.3% reached longevity, respectively. ResultsThe relationship of smoking status with longevity was stronger in men than in women (current vs never smokers; risk ratio 0.44, 95% CI 0.34-0.56 in men, and risk ratio 0.67, 95% CI 0.57-0.79 in women). Furthermore, significantly inverse associations were found between longevity and increasing cigarette smoking quantity, duration, and tar and nicotine exposure, which partially explain the observed difference between both sexes. Quitting smoking significantly increased the chance of reaching longevity compared with current smokers. ConclusionsThe effect of smoking status on reaching longevity seemed stronger in men compared with women, which can be partially explained by differences in smoking habits. Never smokers had the highest chance of reaching 90years-of-age in both sexes. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2018; 18: 1249-1258.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1249-1258
Number of pages10
JournalGeriatrics & Gerontology International
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • epidemiology
  • longevity
  • prospective studies
  • smoking


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