How to live longer: Quitting smoking may help people ‘gain nearly 5 years of healthy life’

Smoking and vaping: NHS shows difference between the two

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Research from Holland has found the benefits of quitting smoking may be even more significant than previously suggested.

The study analysed just under 1000 smokers using a mathematical model and claimed the act of permanently not smoking was as effective as taking a series of heart medications.

Lead author of the study Dr Tinka Van Trier said: “Kicking the habit appears to be as effective as taking three medications for preventing heart attacks and strokes in those with a prior heart attack or procedure to open blocked arteries.

“Patients could gain nearly five years of healthy life.”

This research is significant as it shows just how beneficial not smoking can be to those who currently engage in the act.

Smoking is thought to be responsible for half of all avoidable deaths in those who smoke.

Just under seven million Britons smoke, but of these seven, around half say they want to quit.

However, quitting smoking is easier said than done for many.

Dr Van Trier said of the study by the University of Amsterdam: “This analysis focused on smokers who had experienced a heart attack and/or undergone stent implantation or bypass surgery.

“This group is at particularly high risk of having another heart attack or a stroke and stopping smoking is potentially the most effective preventive action.”

Dr Van Trier said their research indicated “that smoking cessation is a very important step towards adding healthy years to one’s lifetime.”

She added: “Giving up cigarettes after a heart attack is linked with improved survival compared with persistent smoking.”

Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation Ruth Goss said of the research: “It’s estimated that at least 15,000 deaths in the UK each year from heart and circulatory diseases can be attributed to smoking.

“If you want to quit, it helps to have some extra support so ask at your GP surgery if there is a nurse or counsellor in your area who can help.”

As well as impacting heart health, smoking is one of the biggest contributors to the development of cancer.

Cancer Research UK describes smoking as “the biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK.”

Furthermore, they add: “There is no safe level of smoking – stopping completely is the best thing you can do for your health, and there are many support and quitting options available.”

As a step away from a smoke free life, some smokers choose to take up vaping.

While not completely health risk free, vaping is far less dangerous than smoking.

For more information on ways to and support for quitting smoking, contact the NHS.

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