Quitting Smoking Beneficial Even In Old Age
It's never too late to quit smoking, a new study claims. Even at older ages, quitting smoking is associated with a decreased mortality rate health benefits.
Previous studies have almost exclusively focused on middle-aged adults.
"We provide a thorough review and meta-analysis of studies assessing the impact of smoking on all-cause mortality in people 60 years and older, paying particular attention to the strength of the association by age, the impact of smoking cessation at older age, and factors that might specifically affect results of epidemiological studies on the impact of smoking in an older population," says the study.
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The team looked at 17 studies published between 1983 and 2011 with follow up times as long as 50 years and sample sizes of almost 900,000 people.
"In this review and meta-analysis on the association of smoking and all-cause mortality at older age, current and former smokers showed an approximately 2-fold and 1.3-fold risk for mortality, respectively," say the authors. "This review and meta-analysis demonstrates that the relative risk for death notably decreases with time since smoking cessation even at older age.
"Many older-aged smokers do not quit because the believe it is too late. The scientists hope that these findings will encourage more of them to give up the habit.
"Because of reverse causality and from seeing deaths of old friends who had quit recently, some misbelieve that quitting could be harmful. A simple, direct, strong and evidence-based warning is needed," says Tai Hing Lam, M.D., of the University of Hong Kong in a commentary.