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What is a Pack Year?

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Updated June 19, 2014

What is a Pack Year?
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  • Definition:
    Pack year is a term used to describe the number of cigarettes a person has smoked over time. One pack year is defined as 20 manufactured cigarettes (one pack) smoked per day for one year.

    Example:

    I smoked 1 1/2 packs per day for 26 years, which equals 39 pack years:

    1 pack per day x 26 years = 26 pack years
    1/2 pack per day x 26 years = 13 pack years
    26 pack years + 13 pack years = 39 pack years

    See also:  How Smoking Harms Us - Head to Toe

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