Does smoking really kill anybody?

Psychol Rep. 1995 Dec;77(3 Pt 2):1243-6. doi: 10.2466/pr0.1995.77.3f.1243.


Statements that so many people are killed by smoking use the term "kill" in a very unusual manner which is easily misunderstood by people not expert in epidemiology. In addition, the usual calculations leave out of account the fact that smoking interacts synergistically with other risk factors, so that it is a combination of risk factors rather than any specific one that is likely to have a causal influence on mortality. Strictly speaking it is quite inappropriate to state that smoking kills anybody, if we use the term "kill" in a meaningful fashion.

MeSH terms

  • Causality
  • Cause of Death*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / mortality*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications