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.