A landmark study published this week indicates that smoking can cut a decade off your life, but quitting before age 35 may give it back.
The research also revealed that the death rate for current smokers is three times higher than those who never smoked. Most of these smoking-related deaths were due to cancer, heart disease, stroke and respiratory diseases.
Another troubling trend confirmed in the study was the fact that women’s death rates from smoking, which had lagged behind men for decades, now match men’s.
Benefits for Non-Smokers, Quitters
On the flip side, non-smokers are twice as likely to live to age 80 compared to smokers.
The good news in this study is that the sooner you quit, the more years you may get back. According to the data, here’s how quitting can extend your life compared to someone who keeps smoking:
- adult smokers who quit at ages 25 to 34 may get up to 10 years back
- quitting by ages 35 to 44 could give you nine years more
- if you quit by ages 45 to 54 you may gain six years back
- stop smoking by age 64 and you could add four years to your life
The size and scope of this study make the results particularly impactful. American, Canadian and British scientists analyzed data on the smoking status of nearly 217,000 adults between 1997 and 2004.
Prior smoking studies are now decades old or didn’t represent the entire population. Since smoking among women didn’t peak until the 1980s, this research is the first to really capture the true impact of smoking among men and women.
Despite a decline in the overall smoking rate, which is now at 19.3% among adults, there are still 45.3 million smokers in this country and 443,000 deaths attributed to smoking each year.
When you consider that these figures don’t take into account the number of people exposed to second- and third-hand smoke, the deadly impact of smoking may be significantly underestimated.
Medline / HealthDay
Los Angeles Times