26 October 2001 News Update
DEPRIVATION AND TOBACCO SHORTEN LIFE EXPECTANCY
It's no secret that deprivation and tobacco reduce life expectancy, but two new Ministry of Health reports provide detailed evidence of the relationship between the two across different New Zealand communities.
The reports take an in-depth look at how deprivation affects life expectancy, and how tobacco contributes to this inequality.
The report found a steep gradient in life expectancy across the range of deprivation levels. Men from the most advantaged areas live on average nine years longer than men from the most disadvantaged communities. For women the difference is under seven years.
Deputy director general of public health Dr Don Matheson said the disparities the reports highlight are of grave concern to the ministry and it is committed to trying to reduce them.
Tobacco is widely recognised as the leading cause of early death in developed countries, but its impact hits different sections of the community in different ways.
The report shows smoking is one of the main pathways linking deprivation to premature death.
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