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Published December 3, 2012 01:47 PM

Can’t Quit? Smoking Less Will Also Improve Your Health

Countless studies demonstrate the benefits of quitting smoking altogether, benefits which include lowered risk of disease, increased life expectancy, and an overall improvement in quality of life. But health professionals acknowledge that quitting altogether can be a long and difficult road, and only a small percentage succeed. A recent study at Tel Aviv University has shown that even reducing the quantity of cigarettes smoked daily has many health benefits.

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Every day, doctors are confronted with patients who either cannot or will not quit, says Vicki Myers, a researcher at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine. To address this reality, Myers and her fellow researchers, Dr. Yariv Gerber and Prof. Uri Goldbourt of TAU’s School of Public Health, examined survival and life expectancy rates of smokers who reduced their cigarette consumption instead of quitting entirely. Their data covered an unusually long period of over 40 years.

While quitters were found to have the biggest improvement in mortality rates — a 22 percent reduced risk of an early death, compared to smokers who maintained their smoking intensity — people who reduced consumption also saw significant benefits, with a 15 percent reduced risk. These results show that smoking less is a valid risk reduction strategy, Myers says, adding that formerly heavy smokers had the most to gain from smoking reduction.

Article continues at No Smoking.

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