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article imageStudy: Quit smoking by 40, live as long as a nonsmoker

By Angela Harris     Jan 24, 2013 in Health
Researchers from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto found smokers who quit by age 40 restore a life expectancy comparable to that of nonsmokers.
Researchers from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto discovered smokers who quit the habit before 40 years of age can regain a life expectancy similar to that of nonsmokers.
“The most important message is that quitting works,” said lead researcher Dr. Prabhat Jha in an interview with CTV. “Cessation of smoking at an early age -- even up to age 40 -- avoids about 90 per cent of the risk of continuing to smoke."
The research team analyzed records from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey. Data from the National Death Index was analyzed also — narrowed down to 16,000 records of the deceased reported to have smoked earlier in their lives.
Research showed nonsmokers were twice as likely to live to the age of 80 than smokers. However, they also discovered smokers who quit between the ages of 35 and 44 gained an average of nine years to their lives.
Jha emphasizes that the results of the study in no way encourage people to continue smoking, or imply smoking until age 40 is safe.
“Quitting at any age will have benefits, but particularly if you quit before age 40, you get close to never-smoker death rates,” Jha also told CTV.
Jha also serves as a international government advisor on disease control. He believes taxation is the best way to discourage adults from smoking and prevent youngsters from starting.
Despite study findings, smoking is the number one leading cause of preventable death. According to the CDC, cigarette-related disease lead to around 443,000 annually.
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