Electronic cigarettes helping to transition from tobacco cigarettes
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/09/2012 -- It has been noted that people who begin smoking in their teenage years are more likely to die of heart disease. It is more likely to strike even if they’ve quit when they’re middle-aged, research has shown.
The people who were the worst off, of course, were those who started smoking in their adolescence and continued with the habit throughout their adult lives. Studies showed that they were twice as likely to die early, compared to non-smokers. The risks seem to be cumulative, according to David Batty, who worked on a study at University College London. As he stated to Reuters Health, “If you smoke across a life course, you’re at much higher risk than if you just smoked around the college years...The positive message is, it’s never too late to stop.”
Earlier research has shown that early smoking and future heart disease and cancer have been linked. But, unfortunately, that research was reliant upon information from middle-aged people who relied on their memory of how much they smoked, or if they smoked, when they were younger.
During a current study, Batty and his colleagues used information from an ongoing study of males who began college at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts between 1916 and 1950 and who reported their use of cigarettes on school health questionnaires. Follow-up surveys, related to smoking during the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, were then sent to them to be filled out.
Out of the 28,000 men, 10,000 reported to have smoked as undergrads. Nearly half of those participants died on an average follow-up of 53 years. Men who did report to have smoked on their college physicals and follow-up exams were twice as likely to die than those who had never smoked. Harvard alums who smoked as teens but then quit, as a comparison, had a 29% increase in risk of early death.
The risks, in particular, were higher for smoking-related heart disease and cancers.
Dr. Michael Siegel, a tobacco control researcher from the Boston University School of Public Health, stated that, “The good news is, for people who are able to quit, this is going to have profound effects on their health.” For those who did end up quitting during their follow-up period, the risk of early death dropped significantly. It doesn’t completely go back to that of a non-smoker, but the risk is absolutely lessened.
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