According to a University of Oxford study involving over a million women, quitting smoking by age 30 can significantly help the once-smoker avoid an early death. Those who quit by 40 can cut the risk by 90 percent.
The Million Women Study
The Million Women Study examined 1.3 million women in the UK, all between the ages of 50 to 65 between 1996 and 2001. All participants were categorized as current smokers (20 percent), former smokers (28 percent), or non-smokers (52 percent). Other health factors such as medical conditions, lifestyle, and social factors were taken into consideration.
Just three years after the survey, smokers were three times as likely to die over the next nine years as non-smokers. The UK’s National Health Service provided information on causes of death of any participants. Two-thirds of smoking participants died from smoking-related diseases like lung cancer, chronic lung disease, heart disease, and stroke.
The intensity and frequency of smoking also affected participants’ health. Just 1 cigarette a day doubled the risk of death. Quitting smoking by ages 30 and 40, however, slashed risk of disease and death by a shocking 97 and 90 percent.
The findings are in the same vein as those published in a recent edition of the journal Cancer. Reuters reports that:
Among smokers with stage 1 or 2 lung cancer, for instance, 72 percent survived at least two years, compared to 93 percent of the never-smokers and 76 percent of people who’d kicked the habit a year or more before diagnosis.
Additionally, among those with stage 4 lung cancer, 15 percent of smokers survived two years, 20 percent of former smokers did, and 40 percent of never-smokers survived. In older patients, former smokers who quit more than a year before their diagnosis were 30 percent less likely to die from stage 4 cancer than current smokers.
Read here on the immediate and long-term benefits of quitting smoking.
Current Research and Trying to Quit
The UK researchers attribute much of their findings to the processes and legacy of Sir Richard Doll, a forerunner in epidemiology who linked smoking to lung cancer. Much of what we know today about the effects of smoking is thanks to Doll. His methods—which the Oxford researchers adopted—involved randomized trials and large epidemiological studies.
If you’re one of the many people worldwide trying to break the habit, try adjusting your diet to make the process easier and quicker. These foods can help you feel fuller longer, decrease nicotine dependence, and can even worsen the taste of tobacco – ultimately helping you to quit smoking naturally.