Women in East Germany forecasted to be more likely to die from smoking than in West Germany
East German women are running the risk of an unforeseen increase in deaths through smoking, forecasts up to the year 2036 by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock show. The researchers have published their findings in the leading journal on population trends, Demography.
According to the calculations, rates for deaths from lung cancer, which is a very strong indicator for the effect of smoking, will rise continuously for East German women aged 50 and older. “In addition, all other smoking-related diseases will go up, such as atherosclerosis, angina, and heart attack,” says Mikko Myrskylä, MPIDR director.
At the same time, MPIDR researchers forecast a lasting decrease in rates of lung cancer deaths and of all deaths caused by smoking for women from West Germany, as they smoke less and less.
Currently, mortality (i.e. the risk of dying from any cause) at ages 50-69 is lower among East German women than among West German women. However, in 20 years (2036) mortality in the East is forecasted to exceed mortality in the West by almost ten percent due to smoking.
This excess of ten percent solely accounts for 800 deaths per year among women aged 50-69 due to smoking.
“Policies are allowing this increase of deaths in East Germany to occur”, says Mikko Myrskylä. He believes that more aggressive anti-smoking policies could at least moderate the growing tobacco consumption among women in the East, which would save lives.
“Germany is more tolerant than other EU member states in its smoking policies. For example, it is the only country that allows public billboard advertising.” Smoking is also socially accepted much more widely in Germany than in other EU member states, says the demographer.
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