‘Women who quit smoking gain an extra ten years’
FEMALE smokers who quit before they reach middle age will live up to a decade longer, a major new study has revealed.
A study of 1.3 million women found smoking tripled the chances of them dying over a nine-year period when compared with non-smokers.
The increased death rate was largely due to smoking-related diseases including lung cancer, chronic lung disease, heart disease and stroke.
The risks increased the more someone smoked but researchers found women who smoked ten or fewer cigarettes a day doubled their likelihood of dying if they failed to give up their habit.
University of Oxford researchers calculated that smokers who kicked the habit around the age 30, avoided 97 per cent of their “excess risk” of premature death.
Co-author Professor Sir Richard Peto said giving up cigarettes before middle age tended to prolong someone’s life. He said the study was the first to prove that quitting at an earlier age was as beneficial to women as men. Previous research has looked at both sexes or men only.
He said: “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.”
His team said both the hazards of smoking, and the benefits of quitting, were greater than previous studies had found.
Around seven in ten smokers say they want to quit.
Women aged 50 to 65 took part in the Million Women study, which began in 1996 to look at links between their health and lifestyle.
They all provided details of their living habits, as well as medical and social factors, and were regularly reassessed over a 12-year period.
During the period there were 66,000 deaths.
Initially, two in ten of the women were smokers, 28 per cent were ex-smokers, and 52 per cent had never smoked.
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