Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study using data from the Ibaraki Prefectural Health Study conducted from 1993 through 2013. The cohort included 97,078 adults (33,138 men and 63,940 women) living in Ibaraki Prefecture who were aged 40–79 years at an annual health checkup in 1993. We divided participants into four smoking status groups: non-smokers, ex-smokers, and current smokers who smoked <20 and ≥20 cigarettes per day. Hazard ratios (HRs) of traffic accident death were calculated using a Cox proportional hazards model.
Results: During 20 years of follow-up, the average person-years of follow-up were 16.8 and 18.2 in men and women, respectively. Among men, after adjusting for age and alcohol intake, HRs for traffic accident death among current smokers of <20 cigarettes/day and ≥20 cigarettes/day compared to non-smokers were 1.32 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79–2.20) and 1.54 (95% CI, 0.99–2.39), respectively. In contrast, among women, we found no association between smoking status and traffic accident deaths.
Conclusion: In this prospective cohort study, we found a positive association, though marginally significant, between smoking and traffic accident death among men in Japan. Among women, because of the smaller number of deaths among smokers, adequate estimation could not be obtained.