According to the findings of a meta-analysis of 17 studies on the risk of all-cause mortality in smokers 60 or older, it’s never too late to quit smoking. So if you were using your age as a final excuse not to switch to e-cigarettes, it’s time to make the change.
Most life-long smokers say “why quit now when the damage is already done?” and many of us would probably agree with them, but a team of researchers from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg have found that even the oldest of smokers can prolong their lives by kicking the habit. Of course, for the overwhelming majority saying farewell to tobacco after years of smoking is close to impossible, but that’s where effective alternatives like the electronic cigarette come into play. It might not have the exact same taste as an analog, but it delivers the nicotine fix and deals with oral fixation.
Dr. Hermann Brenner and his colleagues analyzed a series of studies conducted in the U.S., China, Australia, Japan, England, Spain and France between 1987 and 2011, and were able to make some interesting discoveries about the health impacts of smoking in those over the age of 60. The 17 considered studies tracked anywhere from 863 to 877,243 people for follow-up periods of three to 50 years, and researchers found current smokers had the highest risk of mortality in each of the studies. They concluded that smokers over 60 and older had an 83% increased risk of dying from all causes, compared to people who have never smoked, while former smokers are 34% more likely to die than non-smokers. If that doesn’t convince you to quit tobacco and switch to vapor, I don’t know what will.
Regardless of age, the risk of dying in a certain time period due to any cause is much higher for smokers than non-smokers, but quitting significantly reduces this risk. It’s important to know that even after turning 80, the benefits of quitting cigarettes are significant. The German doctors’ analysis found that even at age 80, quitters have a 24% reduction in the risk of death, compared to same-age smokers. “Even older people who smoked for a lifetime without negative health consequences should be encouraged and supported to quit smoking,” Although the analysis had some limitations, like the fact that the 17 studies had varying follow-up periods and age ranges the findings clearly show that quitting smoking at any age has important benefits.
In an editorial on the research conducted by Brenner and his team , Dr. Tai Hing Lam of the University of Hong Kong says people who continue to smoke in their late years have at least one in two chances of dying as a result if their habit, and goes as far as to call those who don’t die “survivors”. But Lam does point out that it really is never too late to quit. “If they stop smoking, then they can reduce about one-quarter of their excess risk,” he says. “So this is good news that older people should not continue to smoke. They should quit smoking as soon as possible.”
Apparently, people who take up smoking earlier in life but quit in their thirties can reduce the risk of dying from a smoking-related condition to about that of a person who has never smoked in their lives. But the problem is people always fool themselves into putting-off quitting until it’s too late.
Unfortunately, smoking tobacco cigarettes is responsible for killing about 12% of the male population and 6% of women, and if the trend is maintained, this habit will be responsible for killing a billion people by the end of the century. So say goodbye to cigarettes, today! If quitting cold turkey is not an option, there are many other alternatives you can try, like e-cigarettes, nicotine gum or even lozenges. All it takes is willpower.
And if the above findings aren’t enough to convince you to quit, you should know smoking affects work productivity, while electronic cigarettes improve your memory. You decide which is better…