The Impact of Smoking and Other Non-Biological Factors on Sex Differences in Life Expectancy: A Comparative Analysis of 39 Industrialized Countries, 1955-2009

Marc Luy, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
Christian Wegner-Siegmundt, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)

The aim of this paper is investigate more deeply the role of smoking for sex differences in life expectancy in comparison to other non-biological factors. Based on the findings of previous studies we expect that populations differ mainly with respect to the time location inside the smoking epidemic model and the absolute number of years smoking contributes to the sex gap. To test these hypotheses we decompose the sex differences between 1955 and 2009 into fractions caused by biological factors, smoking, and other non-biological factors for 39 industrialized countries. We find that smoking can indeed be seen as the main driver of the trend in sex differences in life expectancy for most populations, giving further support to the importance of the smoking epidemic model. However, our results reveal that the common view that smoking is also responsible for most of the sex difference itself does not hold in general.

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Presented in Session 146: Mortality Trends and Differentials