Cigarette Smoking (cont.)
Cigarette Smoking Prognosis
For smokers, quality and length of life depends on the number and severity of smoking-associated illnesses they may develop and if they have other medical conditions such as
high blood pressure. Other lifestyle factors,
for example, use of alcohol or other drugs also make a difference in long-term outcomes for smokers. For smokers who quit, projected health and life expectancy improve markedly
- at any age of life.
- Smokers who quit before age 50 years have half the risk of dying in the next 15 years compared with those who continue to smoke.
- Quitting smoking substantially decreases the risk of lung, larynx, esophageal, oral, pancreatic, bladder, and cervical cancers. For example, 10 years after quitting, an ex-smoker has 30%
to 50% of the risk of lung cancer compared to a continuing smoker. Continued
smoking abstinence continues to lower the risk.
- Quitting lowers the risk for other major diseases including coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. The increased risk of
coronary heart disease halves after 1 year of abstinence. After 15 years, the risk of
coronary heart disease approximates that of someone who never smoked.
- Women who stop smoking before
pregnancy, or during the first 3 or 4 months of pregnancy, reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby to that of women who never smoked.
- The health benefits of quitting far exceed any risks from the average 5-pound weight gain that may follow quitting.
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