By Emily Murray
For those who have never picked up the habit, willfully choosing to take part in an activity that is known to result in death more often than not makes no sense at all. For the millions of smokers who have become hooked on this deadly addiction, it often feels that the need to smoke is out of their hands.
For women especially, smoking is an incredibly risky habit. In fact, according to a TIME article women who smoke more than triple their risk of an early death when compared to their non-smoking peers.
Perhaps one of the most amazing facts however is that this is one cause of premature death that can be avoided. Making the decision to quit smoking at any point in life is a very large decision but did you know that as a woman, if you quit smoking in your 30s or 40s you can actually increase your life by a full 10 years?
This hopeful news was released as the result of a recent study that may have more women contemplating quitting the habit for good.
The study consisted of of 1.3 million women and concluded that if a woman quits by the age of 30, she can effectively avoid nearly 97% of the risk she had of premature death as smoker. The study was published in the journal Lancet and included the following groups of women – 20% who were currently smokers, 28% former smokers and 52% who had never smoked.
At the start of the study, the women ranged in age from 50 to 65. When their medical records were followed up on later (2011) 66,000 had died with their death records revealing cause of death which was then factored into the study.
When all the information was analyzed, researchers concluded that those who smoked continually throughout their lives were 3 times more likely to die of diseases like lung cancer, stroke and heart attack. Even those who weren’t heavy smokers (9 or fewer cigarettes a day) were twice as likely as non-smokers to develop these and other potentially fatal diseases.
The fact that those who quit smoking are helping their health isn’t anything revolutionary in itself but seeing just how much a person can reduce their risk of premature death may be eye-opening for those who are debating cutting out cigarettes altogether.
Even women in their 50s who have smoked all their lives can still greatly increase the odds of adding years to their lives.