Two in three smokers will die from their habit – as well as slashing an average of ten years from their lives, scientists say.
A study of more than 200,000 people found that smokers are three times more likely to die early than those who have never used tobacco.
And compared with non-smokers, smoking just ten cigarettes a day doubles the risk of dying, while 20 a day raises the risk to five-fold.
Until relatively recently it was believed about half of smokers would die of a related illness, but newer studies in Britain and the US have put the figure much higher, at up to 67 percent.
And now this latest research, conducted in Australia and published in the journal BMC Medicine, is the first to come up with the same result with such a large section of a population.
“If you are smoking, the chances are it will kill you if you keep on going,” said lead author Professor Emily Banks of Sydney’s Sax Institute and the Australian National University. “If you are a gambler, it’s not a very good bet. The good news is that if you quit the benefits are clear and lasting.” Researchers followed a cohort of some 200,000 Australians aged 45 and over for about four years, finding death rates among smokers were about three times higher than in non-smokers.
But it found those who kick the habit by the age of 45 wipe away most of their increased death risk.
Cancer Research UK tobacco police manager George Butterworth, said, “It’s a real concern that the devastation caused by smoking may be even greater than we previously thought. Earlier research has shown, as a conservative estimate, one in two long term smokers die from smoking-related diseases in the UK, but these new Australian figures show a higher risk.”
Professor Banks said, “We knew smoking was bad, but we now have direct independent evidence that confirms the disturbing findings that have been emerging internationally.” She praised Australia’s tobacco control measures, which have brought smoking rates down to 12.8 percent – the lowest in the Western world.
Source: Daily Times
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