It is never too late to quit. The largest study ever conducted on the hazards of smoking on women has found that quitting before age 40 cuts by more than nine times the increased risk of heading to an early grave.
The study, published in medical journal The Lancet today, followed 1.3 million women in Britain for nine years. It found that female smokers die a decade earlier than their peers, but stopping before age 30 avoids 97 per cent of the risk of premature death.
The key finding was that both the hazards of smoking and the benefits of quitting were larger than previous studies had suggested. The report learnt that although serious hazards remained for decades among those who smoked until age 40 before quitting, the excess hazards among those who continued smoking after age 40 were 10 times larger.
Researchers said the findings are significant. Previous studies underestimated the full impact of smoking on mortality in women because of the time lag between smoking uptake by young women and disease onset in middle and old age. Co-author Professor Sir Richard Peto, of University of Oxford, said: ”If women smoke like men, they die like men – but, whether they are men or women, smokers who stop before reaching middle age will on average gain about an extra 10 years of life.
”Both in the UK and in the US, women born around 1940 were the first generation in which many smoked substantial numbers of cigarettes throughout adult life. Hence, only in the 21st century could we observe directly the full effects of prolonged smoking, and of prolonged cessation.”
Cancer Council ACT executive officer Joan Bartlett said it was never too late to quit. ”In Australia, tobacco smoking is responsible for more cancer deaths than any other single factor and is directly responsible for many heart and lung diseases.
”But no matter how long you have smoked, as soon as you quit smoking, there are immediate and long-term health benefits even if you already suffer from smoking-related health problems.”
Source: ONE NEWS PAGE