Among these men, 42 percent had been smokers and nearly 7 percent still were. About 5,600 men died in the follow-up period. Of the more than 600 deaths among smokers, nearly 14 percent died before they reached age 65, compared with about 8 percent of those who had never smoked, the researchers found.
The highest death risk was among those who smoked the most, but that risk could be cut by 44 percent within 10 years after quitting, and after 20 years it was the same as if they never smoked, the study found.
"Reduction of mortality should not be considered to be the only important outcome measure of smoking-cessation programs," Edelman said. "There is considerable morbidity, such as disability, effects of treatment for heart and lung disease, etc., to be taken into account."
David Abrams, executive director of the Schroeder Institute on Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at the American Legacy Foundation, said that evidence-based treatments "will double to quadruple your chance of successful quitting" compared to willpower alone.
For more about quitting smoking, visit smokefree.gov.
SOURCES: Anne M. Joseph, M.D., co-leader, Prevention & Etiology Research Program, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Matthew J. Carpenter, Ph.D., associate professor, department of psychiatry, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, S.C.; Norman H. Edelman, M.D., chief medical officer, American Lung Association; Patricia Folan, MSN Ed., RN, CH, director, Center for Tobacco Control, North Shore-LIJ Health System, Great Neck, N.Y.; David Abrams, Ph.D., executive director, Schroeder Institute on Tobacco Research and Policy Studies, American Legacy Foundation; Nov. 28, 2011, Archives of Internal Medicine
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