Mortality and smoking prevalence: An empirical investigation in ten developed countries

We investigate the link between death rates and smoking prevalence in ten developed countries with the aim of using smoking prevalence data to explain differences in country-specific death rates. A particular problem in building a stochastic mortality model based on smoking prevalence is that there are in general no separate mortality data for smokers and non-smokers available. We show how we can estimate mortality rates for smokers and non-smokers using information about the smoking prevalence in a number of developed countries, and making an additional assumption about the death rates of smokers. We consider this empirical investigation to be the first step towards a consistent mortality model for multiple populations, which will require modelling of country specific differences in mortality, as well as non-smokers’ and smokers’ mortality rates.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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