Smoking is bad for health! This is a fact that is recognized by most people, but it just could not convince those die-hard smokers. In 2000, about 5 million premature deaths were attributed to smoking. World Health Organization has projected that by 2030, each year, tobacco-related deaths will account for 3 million deaths in industrialized countries and 7 million in developing countries.
That is why the governments in many countries such as Germany, France, etc. are forced to pass legislation to ban smoking in public areas since the beginning of 2008. Health experts believe smoking will bring health hazards not only to the smokers themselves but also to the surrounding people in the form of secondhand smoke.
A group of researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and colleagues reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association on May 6, 2008 that women smokers who quit could enjoy major health benefits within 5 years, though it could take decades to correct respiratory damage and lower their risk of lung cancer.
The researchers studied more than 121,000 United States female nurses whose health histories were recorded in 1976 and followed during the ensuing years.
The study found that those who stopped smoking had reduced their risk of death from all causes including heart disease and vascular problems within the first 5 years by 13 percent. After 20 years, the risk of death from any cause was actually the same for those who quit and those who had never smoked.
For deaths due specifically to respiratory diseases, there was an 18 percent reduction within 5 to 10 years of quitting, but it would need 20 years to reach the level found in nonsmokers. While there was a 21 percent reduction in the risk of lung cancer death within 5 years, it took 30 years for that excess risk to diminish.
The findings also indicated that 64 percent of deaths in current smokers and 28 percent of deaths in past smokers are attributable to smoking.
In the light of youngsters are taking up cigarettes at early age, the researchers also suggested that women who start smoking later in life would have a lower risk of many lung and heart diseases.
In fact, a survey implemented in 2003 has indicated that 13 percent of smokers started their first cigarette at the age of 13 or 14, and 22 percent of all the United States high school students were smoking at that time.
Although the current study involved only women, other research has already found benefits for men who stop smoking.