Contribution of smoking to the gender gap in life expectancy in Japan

Everywhere in the world, women can expect to live longer than men. The factors responsible for the gender gap in life expectancy are explained by biological factors (gene, immunological function, hormone, etc.) as well as life-style factors (risk-taking behaviours) and differences in socio-economic conditions. Because the size of the gender gap in life expectancy is not fixed or immutable, the role of life-style factors such as smoking has received considerable attention. Indeed, a recent European study demonstrated that smoking-related deaths accounted for around 40%–60% of the gender gap in all-cause mortality in 30 European countries. Greater emancipation (the argument goes) has freed women to behave ‘more like men’, and thus to take up smoking.

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Contribution of smoking to the gender gap in life expectancy in Japan