Background: Limited data are available on smoking-related mortality in low-income countries, where both chronic disease burden and prevalence of smoking are increasing.
Methods: Using data on 20,033 individuals in the Health Effects of Arsenic Longitudinal Study (HEALS) in Bangladesh, we prospectively evaluated the association between tobacco smoking and all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular disease mortality during ∼7.6 years of follow-up. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for deaths from all-cause, cancer, CVD, ischemic heart disease (IHD), and stroke, in relation to status, duration, and intensity of cigarette/bidi and hookah smoking.
Results: Among men, cigarette/bidi smoking was positively associated with all-cause (HR 1.40, 95% CI 1.06 1.86) and cancer mortality (HR 2.91, 1.24 6.80), and there was a dose-response relationship between increasing intensity of cigarette/bidi consumption and increasing mortality. An elevated risk of death from ischemic heart disease (HR 1.87, 1.08 3.24) was associated with current cigarette/bidi smoking. Among women, the corresponding HRs were 1.65 (95% CI 1.16 2.36) for all-cause mortality and 2.69 (95% CI 1.20 6.01) for ischemic heart disease mortality. Similar associations were observed for hookah smoking. There was a trend towards reduced risk for the mortality outcomes with older age at onset of cigarette/bidi smoking and increasing years since quitting cigarette/bibi smoking among men. We estimated that cigarette/bidi smoking accounted for about 25.0% of deaths in men and 7.6% in women.
Conclusions: Tobacco smoking was responsible for substantial proportion of premature deaths in the Bangladeshi population, especially among men. Stringent measures of tobacco control and cessation are needed to reduce tobacco-related deaths in Bangladesh.