Quitting Smoking Before Middle Age Cuts Health Risks for Women

Stop SmokingWomen who are able to quit smoking by middle age are able to avoid many of the health risks associated with cigarettes, according to a new study.

In fact, quitting smoking before age 30 or 40 has even greater benefits than previous studies have suggested, states a news release from the journal Lancet, which published the study online.

Those who stopped smoking before the age of 40 were able to avoid more than 90 perfect of the increased risk of dying that is associated with smoking. Women who quit by age 30 avoided more than 97 percent of that risk.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking causes 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer cases.

“If women smoke like men, they die like men – but, whether they are men or women, smokers who stop before reaching middle age will on average gain about an extra ten years of life,” said co-author Professor Sir Richard Peto, of the University of Oxford. “Both in the UK and in the USA, women born around 1940 were the first generation in which many smoked substantial numbers of cigarettes throughout adult life. Hence, only in the 21st century could we observe directly the full effects of prolonged smoking, and of prolonged cessation, on premature mortality among women.”

Researchers analyzed 12 years of data from more than 1million women in the United Kingdom. At the beginning of the study, 20 percent of the women smoked, 28 percent were former smokers and 52 percent had never smoked at all.

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