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Sharon Basaraba

What Women Gain by Quitting Smoking

By November 14, 2012

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New research published this month in The Lancet reveals the full mortality cost of long-term smoking for women.  While the risks of death and illnesses due to men's smoking habits has been known for years, the researchers -- from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom -- say it's taken until now for data to be compiled on women smokers, because their tobacco use only peaked in the 1960s.

The study, based on a 12-year investigation of more than a million subjects, showed that women who continued to smoke lost almost 11 years of life, when compared to similar women who'd never smoked.  The research also revealed dramatic benefits of quitting: women who stopped smoking before the age of 30 avoided a full 97% of the early mortality risks compared to long-term smokers, and women quitting by the age of 40 avoided 90% of it.

The results were similar to the long-term smoking risks found in a 50-year investigation of male British doctors.

Read more:


Doll R, Peto R, Boreham J, Sutherland I. Mortality in relation to smoking:
50 years' observations on male British doctors. BMJ 2004; 328: 1519-27.

Kirstin Pirie, Richard Peto, Gillian K Reeves, Jane Green, Valerie Beral, "The 21st century hazards of smoking and benefits of stopping: a prospective study of one million women in the UK." The Lancet. Published online October 27, 2012.

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