The harm from smoking starts early, but health improves dramatically once a person stops. Two recent studies illustrate this.
One study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found smoking is associated with low bone density in adolescent girls. In this study healthy girls between the ages of 11 and 19 were followed for three years. By the end of three years, the girls who did not smoke had significantly better bone density development than those who smoked, even if those smokers were light or occasional smokers.
Another study in the UK, of more than 1 million women followed for 12 years, found that women who stopped smoking before age 30, almost completely eliminated their risk of eventually dying from a smoking caused illness. Women who stopped smoking by age 40 reduced their risk of death from smoking by 90%. However, women who did not stop smoking were three times more likely to die prematurely than those women who stopped.
These two new studies highlight the importance of the mission of American Legacy, ‘To build a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit.’ The message is clear. If you haven’t started smoking don’t. Even light smoking is dangerous. If you have started smoking, stop as soon as you can.