Women smokers need more help to improve quitting rates

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Sixty years after health reports started tallying the deadly toll of cigarettes, millions of people are still addicted to tobacco. Writing in Examiner.com, ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross uses the release of a Million Women Study in Britain to examine the damage women have sustained, and continue to sustain to their bodies, thanks to the scourge of addiction to cigarettes:

In Britain, 23 of the top 30 causes of death are smoking-related, and this same statistic is likely true here as well. Even so, tragically, about one-fifth of us in the U.S. still smoke, 46 million addicted to nicotine. And that includes 18% of women, a figure just slightly below the male smoking rate. Women have come a long way, baby, but there s still have a long way to go.

So a recent study out of the U.K., the Million Women Study, comes as good news: Among women who smoke, quitting before age 30 reduces the damage from smoking by 97%; even quitting by age 40 lowers the risk by 90%! Women smokers who quit before middle age will gain, on average, an extra ten years of life.

The bad news is that even light smokers those who smoked less than 10 cigarettes daily had double the risk of dying over the 12-year study period. And among those who continued to smoke, at any level, the overall risk of death was triple that of non-smokers.