A more comprehensive understanding of the linkage between cigarette smoking and cause-specific adult mortality in the contemporary United States than exists to date. The researchers will use data from the National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality Files (NHIS-LMF). This project builds directly on an influential and well-publicized recent article that found a substantially higher mortality burden of cigarette smoking in the United States than has been previously estimated. That recent paper, while very important and influential, was not based on nationally representative data; it contained a lower percentage of minority group members and a much higher percentage of highly educated individuals than is the case in the U.S. population. Moreover, the previous study did not include all of the potential confounding factors of the smoking-mortality relationship that are available in the data set the researchers will employ.
The additional confounding variables to be used (e.g., marital status, region of residence, weight-for-height, and health insurance coverage) will allow the researchers to develop even more precise estimates of the relationship between cigarette smoking and cause-specific mortality in the United States. Finally, the previous study did not assess the relationship between cigarette smoking and cause-specific mortality for key population subgroups, defined both by gender and race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic). The subgroup-specific estimates will allow the researchers to pinpoint the specific subcategories of the population for which smoking cessation efforts should particularly focus.
Joseph Lariscy – Duke University
Richard Rogers – University of Colorado