(NaturalNews) A massive new study about smoking from the University of Oxford in the U.K. has reported breathtaking results. Doctors and researchers found the nasty effects associated with cigarettes years ago, but this study focused on the harms of smoking as well as the benefits of quitting. Putting aside the knowledge society has about cigarettes already, the findings of this study could serve as yet another motivation for smokers to quit.
One of the largest studies ever done on the subject, Sir Richard Peto - a professor at the University of Oxford - and his colleagues recruited 1.3 million women between 1996 and 2001, all of whom were born around the 1940s and had been smoking regularly throughout their lives. The participants were all between the ages of 50 and 65, and they each filled out questionnaires about their lifestyles, medical status, and sociodemographic factors. The researchers did follow-ups and resurveyed the participants three and eight years later.
At the beginning of the study, 20 percent of the women were smokers, while 28 percent had quit and 52 percent never smoked. 66,000 of the participants had passed away by 2011. The study showed that the smokers who continued three years into the study were three times more likely to pass away in comparison to non-smokers and women that had quit before middle age. According to the researchers, this means that two-thirds of the deaths of female smokers in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are related to smoking.
The researchers also noted that while the death risk in smokers is elevated by the amount smoked, light smokers (one to nine cigarettes per day) were still twice as likely to pass away as nonsmokers.
It was also found that women who quit before 40 dropped their risk of premature death by 90 percent, and women who quit before 30 dropped their risk by 97 percent. Even women who quit at about 50 years old avoid at least two-thirds of ongoing smokers' excess mortality. Peto says that the bottom line is that quitting smoking before middle age will add an average of 10 years of life back.
Cigarette smoking accounts for about 443,000 deaths each year in the U.S. In fact, tobacco use kills more people than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol, vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. Smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke by two to four times, and it increases the risk of death by chronic obstructive lung diseases (like chronic bronchitis and emphysema) by 12 to 13 times.
So what is the main point of the researchers' study? It's never too late to stub it out, ladies.