Here’s good news for Zoomers who are still hoping to quit smoking. It’s not too late. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, smokers who kick the habit in their 40s or 50s can still reclaim many of the years that would otherwise be lost. The findings show that people who stop by the age of 40 reduce their risk of smoking-related death by 90 per cent, giving them a near-normal life expectancy. Those who stopped smoking at 45 to 54 years old gained about six years of life, compared with those who continued smoking, while those who quit at 55 to 64 gained about four years of life.
Quitting by the age of 30 makes life expectancy identical to people who have never smoked.
The study is also one of only a handful that has been able to examine the long-term impact of smoking on the health of women. The scientists found is that smoking-related mortality is similar, regardless of gender.
The bottom line according to Toronto-based lead author Dr. Prabhat Jha, is that quitting is effective at any age. But no one should take this as a green light to smoke for a number of years. Ex-smokers still have a higher risk of lung cancer, heart attack, stroke and respiratory illness,
The damage from failing to quit is unquestionable. The data show that a lifetime of smoking reduces life expectancy by at least a decade. And only a minority of smokers reach the age of 80.