Brian Rostron of the Center for Tobacco Products at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said smoking is the leading cause of preventable mortality in the United States, but the methods and data used in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's estimates of adult smoking-attributable mortality have not been substantially revised since their introduction in the 1980s.
"We employed the CDC's general methodology for estimating smoking-attributable mortality but produced improved estimates by using recent, nationally representative relative risk data from the National Health Interview Survey -- Linked Mortality Files and adjusting for confounding risk factors. We also produced estimates by smoking status and over time," Rostron said in a statement.
"Our use of more recent and nationally representative relative risks tended to decrease estimates of smoking deaths for men and increased estimates for women compared with the CDC's estimates."
Adjustment for confounding factors further refined the estimates, particularly by smoking status, Rostron said.
"Estimated smoking-attributable mortality has finally begun to decline for both U.S. men and women," Rostron said. "Our approach offers several substantive improvements in the estimation of smoking-attributable mortality by cause for the United States."
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