Smoking can cut ten years off your life span, or so goes one of the most popular statistics used to encourage smokers to give up cigarettes. But a new study says that one of the effects of quitting smoking by age 40 is that it could help you dodge that bullet, and even put your life span back on par with someone who never smoked at all.
But before you resolve to quit after your 39th birthday, the study authors still emphasize that quitting as early as possible is important for keeping smoking-related disease at bay. Dr. Prabhat Jha, the lead study author, explained in a press release:
Quitting smoking before age 40, and preferably well before 40, gives back almost all of the decade of lost life from continued smoking. That’s not to say, however, that it is safe to smoke until you are 40 and then stop. Former smokers still have a greater risk of dying sooner than people who never smoked. But the risk is small compared to the huge risk for those who continue to smoke.
So the sooner you quit, the better, but if you think quitting because the damage is already done, think again. Though the study is good news for people who worry about what a few years of smoking in their youth may have done to their health, the larger takeaway is mostly that smoking is terrible. Incidentally, the same study–which used statistics from U.S. death records–just made headlines for revealing that female smokers face much more severe risks than was previously thought.
Photo: flickr user curran.kelleher