Monday, October 29, 2012

The Benefits of Quitting Smoking

Are you a smoker? Are you one of those who believe that smoking may not be as dangerous as “they” say it is?

Well, thirty years ago you’d have had a point.  It’s actually taken a long time to collect sufficient data to prove that smoking is as harmful as it is.  That’s because smoking-related diseases can take decades to develop.  Only after an entire generation of smokers reaches old age can we truly know the health-and-survival differences between smokers and non-smokers.  But the data are now becoming available, and its pretty convincing.  A 12-year-long British study of 1.2 million women born between 1938 and 1945 shows that women who smoked throughout their lives shortened their lives on average by more than ten years.  Ten years!  (The study was conducted in women born between 1938 and 1945 because smoking only became popular among women in the 1950s, when these women were entering their teens.)

Now for the good news.  Smokers who quit markedly reduced their risk of smoking-related diseases and a shortened lifespan.  How much their risk was reduced depended on the age at which they quit. For example, women who quit by age 40 lowered their smoking-related risk of death by 90%. Women who quit by age 30 lowered their risk by a whopping 97%.

What this means is that if you quit while you are still young, you can still live a long and normal life. Is that enough incentive for you to quit?

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