AIMS: We formally estimate future smoking-attributable mortality up to 2050 for the total national populations of England & Wales, Denmark and the Netherlands, providing an update and extension of the descriptive smoking-epidemic model.
METHODS: We used smoking prevalence and population-level lung cancer mortality data for England & Wales, Denmark and the Netherlands, covering the period 1950-2009. To estimate the future smoking-attributable mortality fraction (SAF) we: (i) project lung cancer mortality by extrapolating age-period-cohort trends, using the observed convergence of smoking prevalence and similarities in past lung cancer mortality between men and women as input; and (ii) add other causes of death attributable to smoking by applying a simplified version of the indirect Peto-Lopez method to the projected lung cancer mortality.
FINDINGS: The SAF for men in 2009 was 19% (44 872 deaths) in England & Wales, 22% (5861 deaths) in Denmark and 25% (16 385 deaths) in the Netherlands. In our projections, these fractions decline to 6, 12 and 14%, respectively, in 2050. The SAF for women peaked at 14% (38 883 deaths) in 2008 in England & Wales, and is expected to peak in 2028 in Denmark (22%) and in 2033 in the Netherlands (23%). By 2050, a decline to 9, 17 and 19%, respectively, is foreseen. Different indirect estimation methods of the SAF in 2050 yield a range of 1-8% (England & Wales), 8-13% (Denmark) and 11-16% (the Netherlands) for men, and 7-16, 12-26 and 13-31% for women.
CONCLUSIONS: From northern European data we project that smoking-attributable mortality will remain important for the future, especially for women. Whereas substantial differences between countries remain, the age-specific evolution of smoking-attributable mortality remains similar across countries and between sexes.