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Those who quit smoking before age of 40 may live as long as those who never smoked: Report

Findings indicate that quitting smoking at any age significantly reduces the risk of death, with former smokers approaching the survival rates of non-smokers within 10 years. Even individuals who quit for less than three years experienced notable increases in life expectancy

Those who quit smoking before age of 40 may live as long as those who never smoked: Report
First Published Feb 10, 2024, 4:59 PM IST

A recent report suggests that individuals who quit smoking before the age of 40 can expect to live nearly as long as those who never smoked, emphasizing the significant health benefits of quitting. Published in the journal NEJM Evidence, the study revealed that individuals who quit smoking at any age begin to approach the survival rates of never-smokers within 10 years of quitting, with approximately half of the benefit realized within just three years.

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Professor Prabhat Jha from the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health commented on the findings, stating, "Quitting smoking is ridiculously effective in reducing the risk of death, and people can reap those rewards remarkably quickly."

The study, which included 1.5 million adults across the US, the UK, Canada, and Norway, tracked participants over a 15-year period. Smokers aged 40 to 79 were found to have nearly triple the risk of dying compared to non-smokers, resulting in an average loss of 12 to 13 years of life.

Former smokers, however, significantly reduced their risk of death to just 1.3 times higher than that of non-smokers, indicating a substantial improvement in life expectancy. Even individuals who quit smoking for less than three years experienced an increase of up to six years in life expectancy.

The study also highlighted the positive impact of smoking cessation on reducing the risk of death from vascular disease and cancer, with a slightly lesser effect observed for respiratory disease, likely due to residual lung damage.

Jha emphasized the misconception that it's too late to quit smoking, particularly in middle age, noting that the study's findings challenge this belief. "It’s never too late, the impact is fast and you can reduce risk across major diseases, meaning a longer and better quality of life," he concluded.

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