Quit smoking before age 35 and claw back decade of lost life expectancy

| January 25, 2013

Smokers who quit before they reach the age of 35 erase the entire decade of lost life expectancy that is risked by smokers who continue with their habit, according to a story in The Washington Post quoting a ‘landmark study’.

Smokers who quit between the ages of 35 and 44 get back nine of those 10 years; those who quit between the ages of 45 and 54 get back six years; while those who quit between the ages of 55 and 64 get back four years.

The study was led by Prabhat Jha, an epidemiologist at the Center for Global Health Research in Toronto and published online on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study linked surveys of 217,000 adults collected for the US National Health Interview Survey between 1997 and 2004 to cause-of-death records in the National Death Index.

The Washington Post said the message was that it was never too late to quit [or perhaps that it was never too early to quit], though it quoted Jha as saying that younger smokers should not be lulled into thinking they could smoke until they were 40 and then stop without consequences.

This was because the risks of lung cancer and other respiratory diseases lingered for years after stubbing out the last butt.

Most of the gains in life expectancy came because the twin risks of heart disease and stroke quickly dropped after smoking ended.

Category: Breaking News

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