New research on women smokers has just been published in the online ‘Lancet’ journal. It suggests that they can have all the sophistication and peer inclusion they like when they are young. As long as they give up the habit before thirty and they will not suffer the early mortality risks of women who smoke for longer.

Scientists in the UK have conducted the biggest study of its kind on women smokers. They took data from over a million females aged between 50 and 65 and analysed their smoking habits and health for twelve years.

Within the study population, 2 in 10 were smokers, nearly 3 in 10 had quit at some point in their lives, and the other 5 in 10 had never smoked. As for the smokers who were still at it three years into the study. They were three times more likely to die within the remaining nine years of the study than the non-smokers. It is a scary statistic, arising from this report, that 2 out 3 deaths among female smokers over fifty are due to the use of tobacco.

What is more, there is a step increase in risk of early death where the women smoked a lot. But even women who smoke as few as ten cigarettes a day, at the outset of the 12 years, actually doubled the risk of early death compared to the non-smokers. The good news to come out of this huge study is aimed at young women smokers today.

The women who had smoked and quit before they reached forty, mitigated the risks of tobacco related illness and death by 90%. Better still was the result that women who quit in their 20’s precluded almost 100% of the raised risks of lifelong smoking. According to the senior researchers and authors at Oxford university, in an accompanying press release, the outcomes of the study are…

“simple and unequivocal. If women smoke like men, they die like men — but, whether they are men or women, smokers who stop before reaching middle age will on average gain about an extra 10 years of life.”

Scientists here at the university of Minnesota have written an accompanying article to the study. They reinforce the conclusions of the British researchers saying,:

“That we had to wait until the 21st century to observe the full consequences in women of a habit that was already widespread in the mid-20th century, when tobacco smoking pervaded much of the developed world, might seem paradoxical. But this is because, in most of Europe and the U.S.A., the popularity of smoking among young women reached its peak in the 1960s, decades later than for men. Hence, previous studies have underestimated the full eventual impact of smoking on mortality in women, simply because of the lengthy time lag between smoking uptake by young women and disease onset in middle and old age.”

The message from the smokers of the last century, for the young smokers of this century is clear. Enjoy whatever it is you get from tobacco, but when you hit the twenty something’s, it is time to rethink your lifestyle.

Claire Al-Aufi

Claire Al-Aufi is a contributing author for Hive Health Media who provides updates on health and fitness news.

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