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What are pack years for a smoker?

Pack years for smokers are the number of packs smoked per day multiplied by the number of years a person has been smoking. For example, if someone has been smoking 2 packs of cigarettes per day for 40 years, that would be equal to 2 x 40 = 80 pack-years. The more pack years, the higher the risk of complications for a smoker such as heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung disease.
Elwyn C. Cabebe, MD
Hematology & Oncology
Pack years are the number of years a person has smoked multiplied by the number of packs smoked per day. In this video, oncologist Elwyn Cabebe, MD, of Good Samaritan Hospital gives some examples of how to calculate pack years.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.