Life Expectancy Paradox Explained by Smoking

October 14, 2011
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People with greater income or formal education tend to live longer and enjoy better health.  The trend holds true wherever researchers look — in poor countries or rich ones, in Europe, Asia or the Americas — but two notable exceptions stand out.

People with greater income or formal education tend to live longer and enjoy better health.  The trend holds true wherever researchers look — in poor countries or rich ones, in Europe, Asia or the Americas — but two notable exceptions stand out.

  • Immigrants to countries as diverse as the U.S., Australia, Germany and Canada live longer than their new native-born neighbors even though they tend to be less well educated and more likely to live in poverty in those countries.
  • People of Hispanic descent (typically of Spanish, Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, or Central or South American origin) live longer than non-Hispanic whites, who on average happen to be richer and better educated

What accounts for the two exceptions? Smoking.

Source: Scientific American