Female smokers may have new motivation to stop: A new study finds their risk of dying from lung cancer has gone up dramatically.
"Whereas earlier women died at two or three times higher rates from lung cancer. Now they're dying at 25 times the rate of nonsmokers," said Tim McAfee, the director of the office on smoking and health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers found women now have the same smoking patterns as men. Women are starting earlier, they are smoking more cigarettes and a larger number of women are smoking. The findings show there is also an unexpected increase in lung disease deaths among smokers.
Another study finds that a smoker's life expectancy is 10 years shorter than a nonsmoker. But there is encouraging news: if you quit before age 40 you get almost all 10 years back.
"And even if you quit in your 50s, in your 40s and 50s, you still get a substantial amount of that life expectancy back-- 6 years plus," McAfee said.
One of five American adults smoke according to the CDC. That number is even higher among young adult smokers.
And experts say cutting back is a step in the right direction, but it won't significantly reduce your risk unless you quit completely.
Researchers also found nonsmokers are twice as likely to live to 80 compared to smokers.
The CDC says there are an estimated 400,000 smoking-related deaths every year in the U.S.
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