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Quit Smoking Before 40 And Live Longer

Feb 21st, 2013

quit smokingYoung smokers should quit before turning 44 if they want to live nearly as long as those who never lit up, a new study said.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, also found that people who never smoked live an average of ten years longer than lifetime smokers.

For the study, researchers from the University of Toronto analyzed health and smoking records of more than 200,000 Americans and compared the lifespan of smokers and non-smokers.

Middle-aged smokers who are still contemplating whether to quit smoking can help improve their chances of living a normal life should find the results encouraging. Researchers found that men and women who quit before turning 44 die just one year younger, on average, than those who never smoke. The team also found that people who quit by age 54 die just 4 years earlier-still better than the ten years lost among lifetime smokers.

The increase in life expectancy when you quit smoking comes from the decreased risks of heart disease and stroke after smoking ends. Both diseases occur as tobacco smoke trigger clotting in the arteries, a risk that can quickly be reduced by quitting.

However, researchers warn, the results should not be taken as a license to go on with the nasty habit. Men who quit by 40 are still 20 percent more likely to die in a given year than those who never smoke. Past studies have linked cigarettes to increased risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, and several other life-threatening health risks.

“Smoking is the No. 1 preventable cause of death in the U.S.,” says Tim McAfee, co-author and director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We need to do more to educate the American people about these findings.”

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