We know that quitting smoking is beneficial at any age. However, a recent study has verified that if we do it before the age of 35. The negative consequences of tobacco are significantly reduced. This is good news for smokers, but perhaps those who can extract the most from this are the health authorities.
Quit smoking before the age of 35. A team of researchers from several universities has published an article in the JAMA Network Open magazine. In which they report on an analysis of the effects of tobacco on mortality. The most striking result of the study is that the mortality of those who had quit smoking. Before the age of 35 was reduced to almost the same as that of those who had never smoked.
And after 35? In general, the study observed that the mortality of former smokers was progressively reduced. Until it approached that of non-smokers (those who had never been smokers). Without reaching this comparison, the effect did not stop occurring in those over 35 years of age.
Thus, for example, those who quit smoking before the age of 45 saw their excess mortality cut by 90% . Between 45 and 64 the reduction was two-thirds. These are important reductions, but the risks are greater. Even cutting that 90% excess mortality, it remains high, 21% above that of those who never smoked.
Third study to mark this limit. In a comment published in the same journal , John Pierce, from the University of California at San Diego. Explains that this study is one more (the third in his account) to point out. That quitting smoking before the age of 35 can see your mortality reduced. to match that of non-smokers.
Despite this, Pierce points out that when it comes to quitting tobacco, the sooner the better . “It’s been known for a long time that the sooner a smoker quits, the better,” he explains. “However, it is possible to be more specific about the age at which a smoker quits.”
Design strategies. Although the 35-year-old message may resonate with many smokers, perhaps the ones who can extract the most from this study are the health authorities, in charge of designing strategies to reduce smoking , which are often nothing more than marketing campaigns with the aim of give up smoking.
In this sense, having a number can be very useful. After all, setting goals is a common recommendation, a useful strategy when it comes to overcoming an addiction. The 35-year goal may be useful to some. According to Pierce, this objective can be incorporated into the smoking reduction plans implemented by the health authorities of different countries.
Hit the brakes. Although the figure of 35 is the most striking of this study, the work also indicates that the intensity with which we smoke affects our mortality. One of the most curious results of this study is that smoking causes more mortality among white smokers .
In many other health issues, the correlation between ethnicity and health tends to favor populations of European origin. This is not the case. The data indicate that this may be due to lower tobacco consumption by other groups, who would not only start smoking later but would smoke less frequently.
I quit smoking – for smoker
“These results remind us that reducing smoking intensity (cigarettes per day) should be one of the goals of tobacco control programs,” Pierce says. Smoking less also helps, and health plans should take this into account.
Damage reduction. Strategies that seek not to eradicate a harmful practice (be it tobacco, alcohol, drugs or gambling). But rather to reduce the negative impact that the practices cause are commonly known as harm reduction strategies.
The recent study points in this direction, indicating that it is possible to smoke, but the less and the sooner we quit, the better. Harm reduction strategies are not without controversy , as first the appearance of “light” products and today with ” electronic cigarettes “.
Harm reduction strategies, however, can encompass other less controversial practices. Such as reducing the spaces in which smoking is allowed or increasing tobacco prices. Setting reduction goals and abandoning the practice are two more on the list.
Mortality reduced, health restored (sort of). However, that mortality is not the only variable that worries health authorities. Tobacco is also related to chronic diseases that can reduce our quality of life without necessarily ending it, such as diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Smoker – It kills
Quitting smoking before these types of ailments materialize is also key since they have no cure but can be prevented. The benefits of quitting smoking can appear progressively, with some of these appearing on the same day .
Smoking in Spain. The number of non-smokers in Spain recently exceeded 50%, with the number of people who smoke daily slightly below 25% according to data from the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC) and epdata.es.
A recent study offered less optimistic data: putting the proportion of daily smokers at 1999 levels. In this case, the data was based on Spaniards between 15 and 64 years of age who consumed tobacco daily, 34%. This would be a notable increase with respect to the minimum of the historical series, 29.6% registered in 2007, although below the maximum of the last two decades registered in 2003 (36.7%).
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