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Quitting Smoking

Seniors, Even Those in Their 80s, That Quit Smoking Are Less Likely to Die a Premature Death

posted 03:54 AM EST, Thu June 14, 2012

Researchers say, no matter how old you are, your risk of early death falls dramatically after you quit smoking.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, whether you’re in your 60’s 70’s or even in your 80’s – quitting smoking now still greatly decreases your risk of early death; even if you’ve smoked for decades.

That’s the story coming from a group of researchers at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg Germany who performed a meta-analysis of 17 clinical studies performed on smoking cessation.

Their Findings

They found that:

  • Current smokers show the highest death rates in any age cohort
  • The longer you quit for, the greater your benefits
  • Quitting smoking in your 60’s is associated with a 21% reduction in risk of early death
  • Quitting smoking in your 70’s is associated with a 28% reduction in risk of early death
  • Quitting smoking in your 80’s is associated with 24% reduction in risk of early death

Commenting on the significance of the findings that quitting smoking at any age results in a substantial decrease in risk of early death, lead researcher Hermann Brenner, MD, noted, “This fact calls for effective smoking cessation programs that are likely to have major preventive effects even for smokers aged 60 years and older. Even older people who smoked for a lifetime without negative health consequences should be encouraged and supported to quit smoking.”

The full research results can be read in Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Story Highlights
  • Never Too Late to Quit: Ex smokers have a lower rate of death at any age than current smokers
  • Even in your 80s: Even smokers who break free in their 80s experience a 24% reduction in risk of premature death
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