A 50-year study finds that cigarettes reduce a smoker’s life by an average of 10 years. However, the research also concludes that quitting at any age reduced the risk of dying from smoking-related diseases, the BBC reported June 22.
The study by Cancer Research UK began in 1951 and involved 34,439 doctors who were born between 1900 and 1930. The participants were asked about their smoking behavior at the start of the study, and were contacted periodically by researchers to follow up.
The researchers found that men who smoked were twice as likely to die before age 70 than non-smokers. In addition, non-smokers lived an average of 10 years longer than those who smoked for most of their lives.
But the research also showed that participants who stopped smoking before age 30 lived just as long as those who never smoked. Those who quit at age 40, 50, and 60 also added years to their lives.
“Fifty years ago, the findings of this unique study had a major impact on our understanding of the links between smoking and disease,” said Professor Colin Blakemore, chief executive of the Medical Research Council. “These new findings complete the picture on smoking-related deaths.”
The study’s findings are published in the British Medical Journal.