Stop smoking later than never

Stop smoking later than never

Heart attack risk decreases even if you stop smoking at the age of 60
On average, smokers die of cardiovascular diseases five and a half years earlier than people who have not smoked in their lifetime. This was the result of an investigation by researchers at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. For their study, they analyzed the data of 500,000 people from Europe and the United States who were 60 years or older. As it turned out, people in this age group still benefit from quitting smoking. Ex-smokers therefore die an average of two years later than smokers.

The more cigarettes the higher the risk of cardiovascular diseases
As the researchers report in the British Medical Journal, people who smoked their last cigarette over the age of 60 significantly reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke within a few years.

The DKFZ researchers found that smokers die on average five and a half years earlier from cardiovascular diseases than lifelong non-smokers. Former smokers die almost two years earlier. The more cigarettes a smoker consumed, the greater his risk of cardiovascular diseases.

“The risk drops measurably in the first five years after the last cigarette. Even people who only manage to quit smoking after their 60th birthday still benefit from reduced risks for cardiovascular diseases, ”reports the DKFZ. "However, the following applies: The longer the stop of smoking, the more clearly the risk of ex-smokers declining to die from a heart attack or stroke."

“So it's never too late to quit smoking. Even people in the highest age group still benefit greatly from this in terms of health, ”says study leader Prof. Hermann Brenner. "Many heart attacks and strokes with all their serious consequences could be prevented in this way."

So far, the effects of stopping smoking in the elderly have hardly been examined. The DKFZ study now shows for the first time a positive effect on health if the last cigarette is smoked at an advanced age.

Anyone who stops smoking before the age of 40 lives ten years longer
For younger people, on the other hand, some studies have already shown the positive effect of stopping smoking. In 2012, a team of researchers who analyzed data from more than one million women came to the conclusion that those who managed to quit smoking before the age of 40 lived an average of ten years longer. Women who had given up smoking before their 30th birthday had an even longer life expectancy.

Another study in 2013 looked at the development in the death toll of Americans who smoke. A similar picture emerged here: those who stopped smoking between the ages of 25 and 34 lived an average of ten years longer. Those who stopped smoking until their 44th birthday lived nine years longer. At least 54 years were still six years more than permanent smokers. (ag)

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