Cancer and Tobacco Control

Smokers die a decade sooner

Written by Health-e News

Lifelong smokers can expect to die 10 years earlier than non-smokers, according to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

However, smokers who quit the habit can regain some of those years lost by smoking. And the earlier you quit, the better ‘€“ quitting before age 35 erased the entire decade of lost life expectancy; those who quit between ages 35 and 44 gained back nine years; smokers who quit between 45 and 54 gained back six years; and those who quit between 55 and 64 gained four years.

The main life-extending health benefits of quitting smoking comes from a reduction in the risk for heart disease and stroke, said the researchers from the Centre for Global Health Research in Toronto, Canada. Both diseases are caused by smoking and result in clotting in the arteries.

But they also warned that young smokers shouldn’€™t be tricked into thinking they can smoke up to the age of 40 without any health consequences.   Damage to the lungs caused by smoking takes a long time to heal and the risk of lung cancer and other respiratory diseases linger for years after a smoker stubbed out their last cigarette.

The study was based on the smoking histories of more than 200  000 men and women, 25 years and older, who participated in the US National Health Interview survey between 1997 and 2004. The data were linked to causes of death that occurred by the end of 2006.

Sources: The Washington Post, HealthDay News

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