It’s never too late to quit

Quitting smoking reduces risk of premature death, even in lifelong smokers

It’s never too late to quit smoking, even for lifelong smokers past the ages of 60, 70 and 80, a new study finds.

Researchers from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg looked at data from 17 studies that followed smokers for periods ranging from three to 50 years, according to the Los Angeles Times. The studies showed the longer someone was classified as a “former smoker,” as opposed to “current smoker,” the more their risk of premature death dropped. In accompanying commentary, Dr. Tai Hing Lam of the University of Hong Kong found quitting was linked to a 21 percent decrease in the risk of premature death for people in their 60s and quitting reduced that risk by 27 percent and 24 percent for people in their 70s and 80s, respectively.

“The hazardous effects of smoking persist even in old age,” the authors wrote. “Even older people who smoked for a lifetime without negative health consequences should be encouraged and supported to quit smoking.”