Cigarette smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States. According to recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 premature deaths in the US each year. It is estimated that about 1 in every 5 deaths occur due to tobacco use. Experts are saying it’s never too late to quit. A recently published study reports that quitting smoking even after the age of 60 can increase your life span.
Smoking increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Researchers at the German Cancer Research Center found that people who quit smoking even later in life have a much lower risk of dying from these diseases after a few years.
The researchers analyzed information from 25 different studies involving 503,905 people from Europe and the U.S. aged 60 years and above. Out of these, about 37,952 people died from cardiovascular disease (CVD). The key findings of the study are
- It was found that when compared to non-smokers, smokers were twice as likely to die from CVD.
- The risk of death depended on the number of cigarettes smoked over a life time. After a person stopped smoking, the risk of death began to decline.
- It was found that on an average, former smokers are just about 1.37 times more likely to die from heart disease than those who have never smoked.
- For those above 60-years, the risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases decreases significantly within the first 5 years of quitting. In addition, the risk continues to decrease as long as they did not smoke.
- The average age of smokers who die from CVD is five and a half years younger than people who have never smoked. On other hand, the age of former smokers drops to just over 2 years younger than people who never smoked.
The researchers say that their study provides strong evidence that tobacco causes significant harm to your heart and highlights the importance of smoking cessation to extend longevity.