Washington: The positive effect of smoking cessation becomes noticeable within a short period of time, according to a new study.
The study found that compared to individuals who continue smoking, the risk of myocardial infarction and stroke is reduced by more than 40 percent already within the first five years after the last cigarette.
Professor Hermann Brenner and colleagues analyzed the data of 8.807 individuals aged between 50 and 74 years using data of Saarland citizens.
"We were able to show that the risk of smokers for cardiovascular diseases is more than twice that of non-smokers. However, former smokers are affected at almost the same low rate as people of the same age who never smoked," said Brenner.
"Moreover, smokers are affected at a significantly younger age than individuals who have never smoked or have stopped smoking," he added.
For example, a 60-year-old smoker has the same risk of myocardial infarction as a 79-year-old non-smoker and the same risk of stroke as a 69-year-old non-smoker.
Dose and duration of tobacco consumption also have an impact on disease risk. The more cigarettes a smoker consumes per day over a prolonged period of time, the higher his or her risk raises.
The results suggest that smoking cessation programs, which have concentrated on younger participants up to now, should be expanded to reach out to older people as well.