Women who quit smoking by their 30s evade earlier death risks
A study of 1.3 million women has found that women who quit smoking before their 30th birthday can expect to cut the risk of premature death and live up to ten years longer than if they continue to smoke.
The results, published by the Lancet Medical Journal, show that a life-long smoker can expect to die ten years younger than a non-smoker from smoking related diseases that include lung cancer, heart disease, chronic lung disease and stroke. Though results depended on the amount of tobacco smoked, they showed that even those who smoke only a few cigarettes a day double their chance of dying younger.
Researcher Professor Sir Richard Peto from Oxford University said: “More than half of women who smoke and keep on smoking will get killed by tobacco.”
However, the results also revealed that a woman who quits by the time she is 30 will only reduce her life expectancy by one month, and a women who quits a decade later by just a year, highlighting the benefit of quitting the habit earlier on in life.
The women chosen to partake in the research were those who began smoking in the 1950s and 1960s as this was the first female generation to start smoking. They completed a questionnaire about their lifestyles, taking into consideration social factors and medical issues, and were then contacted again three years later. The women were observed for an average of twelve years, during which time 66,000 lost their lives.
Figures show that 20% of the women were smokers, 28% ex smokers and the remaining 52% had never smoked. The smokers resurveyed after the three years were three times more likely to die over the next nine years than non smokers.
This is the first study of its kind as women only started smoking 50 to 60 years ago. However, the danger of smoking and benefits of quitting has been highlighted more by this study than any other preceding it.