Veterans who have served for a long time in the armed forces are more likely to live longer, according to a new study.

Research from the University of Glasgow indicated people who served more than 12 years had an 18% reduced risk of early death compared to non-veterans of the same age.

People with the shortest service had a 15% higher risk of early death – but found no difference between veterans and non-veterans with social and economic circumstances taken into account.

Veterans who died were also 18% more likely to have had a smoking-related health condition.

Lead researcher Dr Beverly Bergman said: “This is an important study which provides further reassurance that longer military service is beneficial to health.

“It confirms our earlier studies which show that smoking has had a major influence on veterans’ health.

“It also shows that some of the poorer outcomes in early service leavers may be due to socio-economic circumstances after discharge.”

The study looked at the long-term risk of mortality in all veterans in Scotland between 1960 and 2012.

Using data from the Scottish Veterans Health Study, it has been published in Occupational Medicine.