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Respiratory Damage From Smoking Takes Decades To Heal

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, May 07, 2008 10:27 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Cigarettes, Tobacco Products, Defective Products, Wrongful Death, Engle Trust Fund, Nicotine, Lung Cancer, Coronary Heart Disease.

Damage to lungs takes decades to heal after you quit smoking but after five years your risk for heart disease lowers 13 percent.

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IMAGE SOURCE: WikiMedia Commons/ Lucky Strike, Portugal 2007/ author: Ryhion

 

If you are a smoker, quitting can lower your risk of dying from coronary heart disease by
21 percent in five years but you might not see overall improvement in your respiratory health for decades, according to researchers.

Within five years women who quit had a 13 percent reduction in heart and vascular problems that can lead to death.

Give it 20 years and your risk of dying from those diseases is the same as those who never smoked.

But your risk of lung cancer remains high. There was a 21 percent reduction in the risk of dying from lung cancer after 20 years. For the risk to disappear as if you never smoked, that took 30 years.

These results are published in the May 7th Journal of the American Medical Association and come from Harvard’s School of Public Health.

Stacy Kenfield, the study author says it’s never too late to stop.

“For some conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, it can take more than 20 years, but there is a rapid reduction for others.”

The data comes from the Nurses’ Health Study, a large trial of more than 121,000 women in the nursing profession whose have been followed since 1976.

The results are thought to apply equally to men.

“Our findings indicate that 64 percent of deaths in current smokers and 28 percent of deaths in past smokers are attributable to smoking,” says  Kenfield.

The American Lung Association reports that although fewer women smoke than men, the gap is closing.

There are still 20 million U.S. female smokers who bear the larger burden of smoking-related diseases.  In 1987, lung cancer surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths among women.

In 2005, 23 percent of high school girls were current smokers, meaning they had a cigarette at least once in the last 30 days.  Keeping weight down is often cited as a reason.

Smoking is still the leading cause of death in the U.S. According to the World Health Organization, three million in industrialized countries will be dead from tobacco use by 2030.

As many tobacco companies export cigarettes to Third World countries, an additional seven million people face the same fate. #


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