Smoking Two Cigarettes Could Cost You A Half-Hour Of Life

A new way of calculating the effects of lifetime habits, environment, and demographics on speed of aging makes the risks and benefits associated with those factors more obvious to the public, according to this article. Other ways of interpreting the effects of these factors on longevity can be confusing, misleading, or unmotivating, according to author David Spiegelhalter, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Cambridge. He came up with the idea of translating the impact of a lifestyle or environmental factors into its effect on expected length of life. He uses the concept of a microlife, one millionth of life after age 35. One microlife equates to one-half hour of life. Averaged over a lifetime, smoking two cigarettes, eating a serving of red meat, drinking two extra alcoholic drinks, being 11 pounds overweight, and watching two hours of TV was associated with a loss of one microlife per day of exposure. Conversely, drinking only one drink per day and taking a statin per day were each associated with a gain of one microlife, while exercising 20 minutes per day was associated with a gain of two microlives, and eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables daily was associated with a gain of four microlives.

So what’s the microlife count for being hit by a bus then?