What’s the Best Age to Stop Smoking?

Oct. 26, 2022 – According to the findings of a recently published nationwide survey, former smokers who gave up the habit before the age of 35 exhibited a “reversal of risk” that was statistically equivalent to that of individuals who had never smoked.

The researchers also attempted to quantify the benefits of quitting smoking for people aged 35 and older. The increased risk of passing away that is connected with smoking was decreased because:

  • 90% of people who give up before the age of 45
  • Aged 45 to 64, 66% of those who gave up doing so
What's the Best Age to Stop Smoking
What’s the Best Age to Stop Smoking

“The distal character of the health repercussions for young smokers is a barrier for professionals seeking to promote quitting in younger age groups,” “The Distal Nature of the Health Consequences for Young Smokers,” John P. Pierce, Ph.D., director for Population Sciences at UC-San Diego’s Moores Cancer Center, noted in a commentary that without a proximal aim, it is easy for smokers to abandon a stop attempt with cognitions such as “I don’t really need to do it just now.”

During the course of the trial, current smokers had a mortality risk that was two times as high as that of the “never smokers” group, which the researchers classified as people who had smoked fewer than 100 cigarettes in their whole career.

The findings of the study, which were published online on Monday in JAMA Network Open, are based on information collected by the CDC from 1997 to 2018. The study involved 551,388 people from the United States. Through the end of 2019, researchers collected data for various causes of death that participants experienced.

The findings are consistent with previous research, and they also investigated whether demographic characteristics such as a smoker’s race and gender influence the advantages of quitting smoking. (The research on health has shown that a person’s race and gender are related to different levels of risk in many different areas.)

According to the findings of the study, the benefits of giving up smoking in terms of lowering the chance of passing away are comparable across demographic groups.

According to the authors, “Quitting smoking was linked with reductions of about 80% of the excess mortality associated with continuing smoking among former smokers of all racial and ethnic groups, regardless of gender.” These relationships were, for the most part, constant when looking at mortality rates due to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and lower respiratory disease.

What's the Best Age to Stop Smoking
What’s the Best Age to Stop Smoking

The findings are particularly relevant for leading attempts to stop smoking because while smoking has dropped countrywide, the reduction has differed across demographic groups. This makes the findings important for guiding efforts to stop smoking.

According to the authors’ statement, “Monitoring the connection of smoking with mortality by race, ethnicity, and sex is crucial to understanding how the tobacco pandemic in the United States continues to evolve over time and who is most affected by the changes.”

“Despite consistent declines in the prevalence of smoking in the United States over the past few decades, success has not been uniform across demographic groups.” Recent progress in the United States has been limited in boosting the quit ratio among smokers overall, and the quit ratio has continuously been lower among Black and Hispanic smokers than among non-Hispanic White smokers.

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