One of the most common perceptions of long-term smokers is that they've smoked for so long; the damage is already done, and quitting smoking won't benefit them. This belief was proven to be a myth by a recent report that shows quitting smoking brings health benefits to people of all ages (even those that have been smoking for decades) within hours of quitting.
The report, which was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine this June, looked at results from 17 studies conducted in seven countries. Even seniors lived longer if they were willing to part with their cigarettes.
|The human body begins to repair itself within 20
minutes of quitting smoking.
Researchers reviewed studies that ranged in duration from three to 50 years and looked at anywhere from 863 participants to more than 877,000 people. One study showed that 59 percent of non-smokers were alive at age 80, compared to 26 percent of smokers. Another study showed that those who had quit before the age of 40 had the same death rates as those who had never smoked.
The researchers also found that smokers who were 60 years and older were 83 percent more likely to die at any given age than those in the same age group who had never smoked. Some causes of death - such as cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx - increased up to 10 times for current smokers in that age group. Those who quit smoking still had a higher risk of dying at any given age compared to those who never picked up the habit - 34 percent - but it was much lower than those who never quit.
However, for those willing to quit, mortality was comparable with never-smokers the longer they had stopped using cigarettes.
"These results strongly suggest that smoking cessation is effective for mortality reduction also at older age, a suggestion that should be corroborated by intervention studies, ideally with interventions specifically designed and developed for this target group," the researchers wrote.
Immediate Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking for All Smokers
TIME SINCE QUITTING
BENEFICIAL HEALTH CHANGES
Within 20 minutes
Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
Coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
Your risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker.
Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5 to 15 years after quitting.
Your risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker and your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decreases.
The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker's.
Article by: Adam Camara
1. Mahmud, A, Feely, J. Effect of Smoking on Arterial Stiffness and Pulse Pressure Amplification. Hypertension. 2003; 41(1):183-7.
2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: Nicotine Addiction: A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health. DHHS Publication No. (CDC) 88-8406. 1988.
3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Benefits of Smoking Cessation. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health. DHHS Publication No. (CDC) 90-8416. 1990.
4. Doll R, Peto R, Boreham J, Sutherland I. Mortality in relation to smoking: 50 years' observations on male British doctors. BMJ. 2004; 328(7455):1519-1527.
5.US Department of Health and Human Services 2004, The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General, US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004.
Labels: Health Tips, New Research, Smoking Myth Busted