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- Wed Dec 26, 2007 10:53 am
I am a 21 year old male that has been around smoke all through life - my mother smoked when I was in the womb, around me growing up, and I started myself around age 14. I am skinny, have nasal and sinus problems, shorter breaths, and probably bad cardiovascular strength. How long can I survive even if I quit smoking?
| Debbie Miller, RN
- Wed Dec 26, 2007 12:11 pm
Here is some information from an important study on smoking cessation reported in the American Journal of Public Health: "Men who smoked at age 35 years and continued to do so had a life expectancy of 69.3 years, compared with an expectancy of 76.2 years for those who stopped smoking at age 35 years, an increase of 6.9 years (Table 5 [triangle]). After adjustment for the subsequent quit rate among current smokers at baseline, the life extension from cessation at age 35 increased to 8.5 years."
To sum it up: "...cessation at any age yields substantial increases in life expectancy."
These findings reinforce the urgency of emphasizing smoking cessation to all smokers, irrespective of age, and the importance of never assuming that a smoker is “too far gone.”
There are important factors we don't even understand when it comes to effects of smoking and/or second-hand smoke on health. It is believed that we all have certain genetic tendencies that appear to make us susceptible to certain cancers. Some people without that predisposition will avoid that cancer even when exposed while others will get it with very little exposure. At this time we do not know who is susceptible and who is not. We do know the many health risks involved with smoke and smokeless tobacco - even beyond cancer. So, the best thing is to avoid it now that we know it is harmful. You can't change the past but you can affect the future by quitting now. There's nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Check with the organizations that help people quit. There are programs that can help through public health departments, the American Cancer Society, and your doctor who can prescribe medications. It is definitely worth it - do not continue this health-damaging habit because maybe there has already been damage done. Many of the symptoms you experience now will likely be reduced or eliminated.