IN DEFENSE OF SMOKERS
© 1996, Lauren A. Colby. Version 2.0
May 22, 2003
Smoking and Life Expectancy
When I wrote Chapter 3 in 1996, the Internet was in its infancy and it was very difficult to get reliable information on smoking prevalence in different countries, and to relate those figures to life expectancy. In the intervening years, however, more information has been forthcoming.
A friend of mine, Kees van der Griendt, has compiled figures from 87 countries, which are available at his web site, http://www.kidon.com/smoke/index.html. Far be it for me to duplicate all of his work here. Suffice to say that some of the countries with the highest rates of smoking have the lowest rates of lung cancer. Consider the following table, compiled by Kees from figures furnished by the WHO and the CIA:
Top 15 Male Life Expectancies
If, as the anti smokers postulate, smoking is a deadly "addiction", trimming
years off the life of the smoker, how do they explain such examples as Japan,
Israel, Greece, Cuba, Spain, Italy and France? How can it be that people in
these countries smoke far more than people in the United States, yet manage to
live substantially longer?