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HHS HealthBeat (February 7, 2013)

Getting your decade back

Smoking health infographic.

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Research indicates that people who quit smoking before age 40 can get back almost all of the lifespan that statistics say they can expect to lose if they keep smoking. For a person around 30 or 40, that works out to about a decade. People who quit later can expect to get back some but not all of the decade. Most of the gain was in lower risk of heart disease death.

At the University of Toronto, researcher Prabhat Jha saw this in national data on Americans. He advises:

“Don’t smoke because the proposition now involves losing a decade of life. If you are a smoker, quitting works at any age, but it’s most effective when you quit early in life.”

The study in the New England Journal of Medicine was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: February 7, 2013