Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Background: Separate studies suggest that the risks from smoking might vary between high-income (HICs), middle-income (MICs), and low-income (LICs) countries, but this has not yet been systematically examined within a single study using standardised approaches. We examined the variations in risks from smoking across different country income groups and some of their potential reasons.
Methods: We analysed data from 134 909 participants from 21 countries followed up for a median of 11·3 years in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) cohort study; 9711 participants with myocardial infarction and 11 362 controls from 52 countries in the INTERHEART case-control study; and 11 580 participants with stroke and 11 331 controls from 32 countries in the INTERSTROKE case-control study. In PURE, all-cause mortality, major cardiovascular disease, cancers, respiratory diseases, and their composite were the primary outcomes for this analysis. Biochemical verification of urinary total nicotine equivalent was done in a substudy of 1000 participants in PURE.
Findings: In PURE, the adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for the composite outcome in current smokers (vs never smokers) was higher in HICs (HR 1·87, 95% CI 1·65-2·12) than in MICs (1·41, 1·34-1·49) and LICs (1·35, 1·25-1·46; interaction pInterpretation: The variations in risks from smoking between country income groups are probably related to the higher exposure of tobacco-derived toxicants among smokers in HICs and higher rates of high second-hand smoke exposure among never smokers in MICs and LICs.
Funding: Full funding sources are listed at the end of the paper (see Acknowledgments).

Publication ( Name of Journal)

The Lancet. Global health

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.