HK people live long because not many smoke: study

University of Hong Kong researchers say they’ve found that the territory’s low smoking rate is the most important reason why Hongkongers typically live longer than people from other high-income places.

Since 2013, Hong Kong has had the longest life expectancy in the world. In 2020, it was 82 for men and 88 for women.

Teams from HKU and five overseas universities looked into the cause of death of 263 million people in Hong Kong and 18 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan.

Researcher Michael Ni, a clinical associate professor from HKU’s school of public health, said they found that the SAR had fewer smoking-related deaths than anywhere else.

“Deaths due to smoking in Hong Kong men have been substantially lower than in high-income countries since 1979,” he said.

“For women, deaths due to smoking has increased in high-income countries but in contrast the corresponding rate in Hong Kong women has remained stable for the past four decades, leading to a widening gap in smoking-attributable mortality between Hong Kong and high-income countries,” Ni added.

The HKU research team called on lawmakers to pass a bill that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes saying the products encourage young people to pick up the habit of smoking.