Smoking reduces a person’s lifespan by at least 10 years. A wide-ranging study of health and death records in the United States found that those who quit smoking before they turn 40 can recover almost all of those years snatched by smoking.
“Quitting smoking before age 40, and preferably well before 40, gives back almost all of the decade of lost life from continued smoking,” said Dr. Prabhat Jha, head of the Centre for Global Health Research at St. Michael’s Hospital and a professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
“That’s not to say, however, that it is safe to smoke until you are 40 and then stop,” said Dr. Jha. “Former smokers still have a greater risk of dying sooner than people who never smoked. But the risk is small compared to the huge risk for those who continue to smoke.”
His results were published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
People who quit smoking between ages 35 and 44 reacquire about nine years and those who quit between ages 45-54 and 55-64 gained six and four years of life, respectively.
This one-of its-kind study examined the risk of smoking and the benefits of stopping among a representative sample of Americans.
Women and men who smoke lost a decade of life. Current male or female smokers ages 25-79 had a mortality rate three times higher than people who had never smoked. Never smokers are about twice as likely to live to age 80 than smokers do.
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