Quitting smoking by age 40 can stave off early death
A new study led by an Indian origin scientist has revealed that smokers who quit by around age 40 can erase most of the risk of an early death.
While smokers who never stop lose about a decade of life expectancy, those who quit between ages 35 and 44 gained back nine of those years, according to the study.
The benefits of quitting smoking extend deep into middle age.
The study published online in the New England Journal of Medicine found that smokers who quit between 45 and 54 gained back six otherwise lost years, and those who quit between 55 and 64 gained four years, Washington post reported.
Moreover, quitting young, before age 35, erased the entire decade of lost life expectancy, the study revealed.
But Prabhat Jha, an epidemiologist at the Center for Global Health Research in Toronto, who led the study, said younger smokers should not be mistaken into thinking they can smoke until 40 and then stop without consequences because she added that the risks of lung cancer and other respiratory diseases linger for years after stubbing the last butt.
Most of the gains in life expectancy come because the twin risks of heart disease and stroke quickly drop after smoking ends. Both diseases occur as the byproducts of tobacco smoke trigger clotting in the arteries, a process that can rapidly reverse.
Damage to the lungs, meanwhile, takes longer to heal, she explained.
The study also highlighted that continuing to smoke carries grave risks.
Smokers in the study died early at a rate triple that of people who never smoked. And few smokers reached age 80. Just 38 percent of female smokers and 26 percent of male smokers hit that milestone, while 70 percent of women who never smoked and 61 percent of men who never smoked did.