HomeHealth For YouIt’s never too late to quit smoking

It’s never too late to quit smoking

Researchers from the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, NUS, led by Associate Professor Koh Woon-Puay, compared the short- and long-term effects of smoking cessation on mortality risk, specifically among middle-aged and elderly Chinese people in Singapore, and found that mortality risk can be reduced as quickly as within five years of quitting the habit.

The research, which was published in the review journal Tobacco Control in December 2011, was carried out between 1993 and 2009. Two separate interviews were conducted over the course of the study to assess the smoking status of Chinese people living in Singapore.

Based on interviews with more than 48,000 people with an average age of 61.5 years, the research “shows how fast benefits can be observed after quitting smoking, where the (health) risks do come down after less than five years of smoking cessation”, as stated by Associate Professor Koh.

Individuals who had quit smoking for less than five years were found to have a 76 per cent risk of developing lung cancer, compared to current smokers. Among long-term quitters, defined as those who have not smoked in the last 17 years, the risk level was 44 per cent.

In overall mortality risks, new quitters had an 84 per cent risk relative to current smokers, but long-term quitters came out ahead at 61 per cent.

The results also showed that the benefits of smoking cessation can kick in just as rapidly in men and women over the age of 60.


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