Background: The main aim of this study was to quantify and compare 6-year mortality risk attributable to smoking, hypertension and diabetes among English and Brazilian older adults. This study represents a rare opportunity to approach the subject in two different social and economic contexts. Methods: Data from the data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and the Bambuí Cohort Study of Ageing (Brazil) were used. Deaths in both cohorts were identified through mortality registers. Risk factors considered in this study were baseline smoking, hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Both age–sex adjusted hazard ratios and population attributable risks (PAR) of all-cause mortality and their 95% confidence intervals for the association between risk factors and mortality were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models. Results: Participants were 3205 English and 1382 Brazilians aged 60 years and over. First, Brazilians showed much higher absolute risk of mortality than English and this finding was consistent in all age, independently of sex. Second, as a rule, hazard ratios for mortality to smoking, hypertension and diabetes showed more similarities than differences between these two populations. Third, there was strong difference among English and Brazilians on attributable deaths to hypertension. Conclusions: The findings indicate that, despite of being in more recent transitions, the attributable deaths to one or more risk factors was twofold among Brazilians relative to the English. These findings call attention for the challenge imposed to health systems to prevent and treat non-communicable diseases, particularly in populations with low socioeconomic level.