More Reasons to Quit Smoking Now

06/19/2009 - News

More Reasons to Quit Smoking Now

By: June Chen, MD


The adverse effects associated with cigarette smoking have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and even death. But, how does quitting affect the risk of developing these health problems?

In a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, investigators reported that women who quit smoking experience a rapid decline in their risk of death from heart disease .

The investigators analyzed data from over 100,000 participants in the Nurses' Health Study from 1980 to 2004. The participants were classified as never smokers, current smokers, and past smokers. The smokers were further categorized by the age when they started smoking. The investigators found that 61% of the full benefit of quitting in terms of heart disease-related death was realized within the first five years after smoking cessation. And, over 40% of the benefit of quitting with regard to stroke-related death wasrealized in that same time period. It takes longer for a smoker's risk associated with lung disease and smoking-related cancers to approach that of a person who has never smoked, but the risk does decrease at 20 years or afterwards. The investigators also reported that smokers who had started smoking at a younger age had a higher risk of respiratory disease, lung cancer, and other smoking-related cancer deaths.

So, it's never too late to quit, no matter how long you've been smoking. It's still possible to reverse the harm caused by cigarette smoke and experience the health benefits of cessation.


JAMA. 2008;299(17):2037-2047.

Created on: 05/15/2008
Reviewed on: 06/19/2009

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