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Thursday, December 5, 2013
Smoking and Tobacco
Is it ever too late?
I`ve been smoking for 35 years. Both parents died from lung cancer. Both developed it AFTER they quit. Is it too late to stop smoking?
It's never too late to quit!
According to the American Cancer Society, quitting restores health in several ways even years after smoking. An excellent website to refer to is the American Cancer Society.
The following is an excerpt from their website:
Health Benefits of Smoking Cessation (Quitting)
In September 1990, the US Surgeon General outlined the benefits of smoking cessation:
- Smoking cessation has major and immediate health benefits for men and women of all ages. Benefits apply to persons with and without smoking-related disease.
- Former smokers live longer than continuing smokers. For example, persons who quit smoking before age 50 have one-half the risk of dying in the next 15 years compared with continuing smokers.
- Smoking cessation decreases the risk of lung cancer, other cancers, heart attack, stroke, and chronic lung disease.
- Women who stop smoking before pregnancy or during the first 3 to 4 months of pregnancy reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby to that of women who never smoked.
- The health benefits of smoking cessation far exceed any risks from the average 5-pound (2.3-kg) weight gain or any adverse psychological effects that may follow quitting.
The risk of having lung cancer and other smoking-related cancers is related to total lifetime exposure to cigarette smoke, as measured by the number of cigarettes smoked each day, the age at which smoking began, and the number of years a person has smoked.
The risk of having lung cancer and other cancers can be reduced by quitting. The risk of lung cancer is less in people who quit smoking than in people who continue to smoke the same number of cigarettes per day, and the risk decreases as the number of years since quitting increases.
People who stop smoking at younger ages experience the greatest health benefits from quitting. Those who quit by age 35 avoid 90% of the risk due to tobacco use. However, even smokers who quit after age 50 substantially reduce their risk of dying early. The argument that it is too late to quit smoking because the damage is already done is not true.
For more information, see the American Cancer Society document, "Guide to Quitting Smoking."
Kathy Vesha, RN, BSN, MA
The Ohio State University