Smoking May Have Long-term Effects Even After Quitting

Smoking May Have Long-term Effects Even After Quitting

As time passes, it becomes increasingly hard to remain healthy. Although medical science is now much more developed, health-related challenges seem to keep going up. The majority of the people are therefore now more confused.

Today, you have much more facilities to find out and discover more about how to be conscious and live a healthy life. However, no matter how many options and easy access there is, some habits are just hard to break.

In order to be healthy, you make need to make major lifestyle changes especially if you have any particular health condition. This includes alterations such as in the diet. For example, if you have diabetes, you have to strictly follow a specific diet chart.

In a similar way, you also need to leave some of your unhealthy and harmful habits. This includes smoking several times a day or even every other day.

There is an abundance of research which shows smoking has numerous negative effects on the body. In the long term, you can even develop potentially fatal conditions such as those related to your heart and lungs.

However, quitting smoking is also equally hard and requires a lot of effort and patience. Even if you do manage to leave your habit, it may take years for your body to be as healthy as it was pre-smoking. Earlier research showed the estimated time maybe 3-4 years.

But all of such studies were done on a small number of people with no follow-ups. New research, which looked at a larger population shows it may take even longer than the previous studies had suggested.

How Was the Study Conducted?

Studies conducted prior to the recent one had focused on the drop in the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases in people who quitted smoking.

The conclusion in all of them was the damage caused by smoking is completely reversed in a few years. Nearly all of such research had shortfalls and did not have enough follow-ups.

The new study, which was presented at  American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2018, held in Chicago, IL and led by Meredith Duncan, a Ph.D. student at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN, overcame all such shortcomings.

Read the study here.

The researchers investigated data from the Framingham Heart Study. This gave them access to health records of over 8,500 people. None of these participants had any cardiovascular diseases at the start of the study.

These people were then followed by the researchers for around 27 years and they included smokers, people who quit smoking 5 years ago, and non-smokers. During this time, there were a total of 2,386 cardiovascular events.

What Were the Results?

After the observation, the team found the nearly 70% of the cardiovascular issues were diagnosed in smokers, while 20% were seen in former smokers. The former smokers, in comparison with current smokers, also had a 38% less risk of having cardiovascular diseases.

Furthermore, it was also noted that it took about 16 years for the body of the former smokers to reverse the damage caused by smoking. What does this show?

It means that the estimated time by the earlier studies was much less than the actual time it takes for the body to heal. Hence, smoking can have long-term side effects which may occur at any time even after a decade of quitting.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of smokers has gone down in recent years. However, many still continue to smoke.

Since the side effects of smoking are well-known, it is better to leave it as soon as possible. As demonstrated, by the study, it can be helpful in avoiding the development of various health conditions.

Hilary Jensen

Hilary is a Food Science and Nutrition graduate with specialization in diet planning and weight loss. She enjoys reading and writing on Food, Nutrition, Diet, Weight Loss, and General Health.

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