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PQQLK9
06-22-2004, 09:06 PM
Cigarettes Cut About 10 Years Off Life, 50-Year Study Shows
British Survey of Smoking Doctors Details Long-Term Risks

By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 23, 2004; Page A03

Fifty years after British researchers published the first study firmly linking cigarette smoking to lung cancer, the same scientist following the same group of British doctors has reported the most detailed and long-term results ever of the health effects of smoking. His stark conclusion: A life of cigarette smoking will be, on average, 10 years shorter than a life without it.

While the lethal effects of cigarette smoking have long been known, the new study, published yesterday in the British Medical Journal, is the first to quantify the damage over the lifetime of a generation. The effects, the researchers reported, were "much larger than had previously been suspected."

In the 50-year study of a group of almost 35,000 British doctors, the pioneering epidemiologist Richard Doll, who is now 91, and his colleagues found that almost half of all persistent cigarette smokers were killed by their habit, and a quarter died before age 70.

The study also found, however, that kicking the cigarette habit had equally dramatic effects. He found, for instance, that someone who stops smoking by age 30 has the same average life expectancy as a nonsmoker, and someone who stops at 50 will lose four, rather than 10, years of life.

"What we now know is that consistent cigarette smoking doubles mortality rates in both middle age and old age," said Richard Peto, Doll's 30-year associate in the ongoing study. "But we also know that stopping smoking will significantly limit the harm."

The consequence of the tobacco "epidemic" has been to undercut great strides in public health that would otherwise have kept millions more people alive, the researchers said.

"Over the past few decades, prevention and better treatment of disease have halved nonsmoker death rates in Britain," said Doll, lead author on both the 1954 and current tobacco studies. "But these improvements have been completely nullified by the rapidly increasing hazards of tobacco for those who continue to smoke cigarettes."

Doll began studying smoking among British doctors in 1951, and the research has continued every decade since, with the final study begun in 2001. At that time, almost 6,000 of the doctors first studied in 1951 were still alive.

The effects of smoking show up especially starkly after age 60. At 70, the study found, 88 percent of nonsmokers were still alive, compared with 71 percent of smokers. And at age 80, 65 percent of nonsmokers were alive but only 32 percent of smokers were.

To look at the data another way, a 70-year-old who never smoked has a 33 percent probability of living to 90. For a 70-year old smoker, the probability of living 20 more years is only 7 percent.

The researchers also found that a subset of British doctors, born around 1920, died of tobacco-related illnesses at a much higher rate than others -- accounting for almost two-thirds of all deaths. The researchers report that the men, who were young soldiers during World War II, smoked more because they could buy low-cost cigarettes from the government during the war and became more addicted to tobacco.

Doll and Peto said that while the harm of smoking is dramatic, so is the benefit from quitting. According to their findings, a person who stops smoking at 60 will have a life expectancy three years longer than someone who continues; a 40-year-old will have a life expectancy nine years longer; and a 30-year-old will have a life expectancy no different from that of a nonsmoker.

Peto said that in 1951, about 77 percent of the doctors in the study smoked -- a percentage just below the national average of 80 percent of adults. Today, Peto said, the United Kingdom has the lowest cigarette smoking rate in the developed world, about 20 percent of adults. It was unknown, however, how many of the doctors still smoked.

Yesterday's results were published in the same journal exactly 50 years after the initial study appeared.

Also yesterday, the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences published a study done at the Boston University School of Medicine that may explain why some but not all former smokers remain at high risk for lung cancer. The researchers found that cigarette smoking changes the pattern of genes expressed in lung cells, and that the changes return to normal in some people who stop smoking, but not in others.

Avrum Spira and colleagues found that 97 bronchial cell genes were expressed differently in smokers than in people who had never smoked. Some of those changes increased the expression of genes that can lead to cancer growth, and other changes decreased the expression of suppressor genes that keep cancers at bay.

Former smokers who had stopped at least two years before the study generally had gene patterns similar to those seen in nonsmokers, while those who quit more recently had gene patterns that resembled those of current smokers.

JPB
06-22-2004, 09:33 PM
Well I quit before I was 30, but if I had known I could smoke until 50 and only gamble 4 years.... Hmmmm, I guess I could start up again and get maybe 15 good smoking years in. I bet since I quit for a while I am gambing w/ 3 years. So 15 good years for 3 uncertain ones in old age.... I'll go tell my wife I am starting again but just for 15 years. I'm sure she will think this is a good rational choice. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

PQQLK9
06-23-2004, 01:27 AM
I quit at 40 so I guess I am good for -1 /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/mad.gif.

highsea
06-23-2004, 01:37 AM
OH! No [censored]! Well, I'm sure your post was informative. I confess I didn't read it...too long. The header didn't offer anything new.

I'm hope it wasn't anything too new or earth-shattering..cigs are unhealthy, ok, just like my drinking, poor diet, working with ungodly chemicals in manufacturing, building my boat, blah-blah.

-CM~~~already been preached at.

PQQLK9
06-23-2004, 02:42 AM
Whatever floats your boat...don't hate, appreciate.

highsea
06-23-2004, 02:54 AM
My boat floats. Tell me something new..., I mean, come on...cigarettes are bad??? Geez.

-CM /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

PQQLK9
06-23-2004, 03:05 AM
Why are YOU so personally offended? Discussion Forums tend to be redundant.
Anyhow,you can have the last word...do you play One-Pocket? /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

Wally_in_Cincy
06-23-2004, 06:33 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote JPB:</font><hr>... I'll go tell my wife I am starting again but just for 15 years. I'm sure she will think this is a good rational choice. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif <hr /></blockquote>

This is a true story.

There's a guy I work with. His dad quit smoking at age 35. He recently turned 75 and his wife died 3 years ago. He said well I guess I can start smoking again since I'm almost dead anyway and he went and bought a pack and now he's a smoker again /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Leviathan
06-23-2004, 06:49 AM
Hi, Nick. Thanks for the story. Maybe it will help some of our friends stay quit.--Alan

JPB
06-23-2004, 07:38 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Wally_in_Cincy:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote JPB:</font><hr>... I'll go tell my wife I am starting again but just for 15 years. I'm sure she will think this is a good rational choice. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif <hr /></blockquote>

This is a true story.


There's a guy I work with. His dad quit smoking at age 35. He recently turned 75 and his wife died 3 years ago. He said well I guess I can start smoking again since I'm almost dead anyway and he went and bought a pack and now he's a smoker again /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif <hr /></blockquote>

Good for him. I fully intend to do the same thing. If I am old or terminally ill, I'll be smoking. If they haven't made it a life sentence felony to buy a pack by then at least.

catscradle
06-23-2004, 08:28 AM
My old man died at 56 and was a 2 packs of Camels per day man.

Since I quit before 25, I guess that gets me to 66. Now he was also an alcoholic and I don't drink, so I've got to find a study to find out how many extra years that gives me.
Not that I necessarily want those extra years. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

bluewolf
06-23-2004, 07:00 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote catscradle:</font><hr>
My old man died at 56 and was a 2 packs of Camels per day man.

Since I quit before 25, I guess that gets me to 66. Now he was also an alcoholic and I don't drink, so I've got to find a study to find out how many extra years that gives me.
Not that I necessarily want those extra years. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif <hr /></blockquote>

You have your mom's genes too LOL

Laura

catscradle
06-24-2004, 05:06 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bluewolf:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote catscradle:</font><hr>
My old man died at 56 and was a 2 packs of Camels per day man.

Since I quit before 25, I guess that gets me to 66. Now he was also an alcoholic and I don't drink, so I've got to find a study to find out how many extra years that gives me.
Not that I necessarily want those extra years. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif <hr /></blockquote>

You have your mom's genes too LOL

Laura <hr /></blockquote>

Unfortunately she died at 64. Actually a little tramatic since my wife was pregnant with my first children (twins) at the time. However she was a closet smoker and her sister who didn't smoke lived into her 80's and her mother lived to 86. Her sisters and brothers who did smoke died relatively young too. A few years ago I spend time on my genealogy, once I got prior to the 20th century my ancestors were pretty long lived. Especially my old yankee ancestors, you know down on the farm working hard, living off the land and the sea combined. I'm not too sure about my Irish ancestors, very difficult to do Irish genealogy, too many fires during the "troubles".

At any rate I'll live 'til I die and then we'll see or we won't see as the case may be.

Ross
06-24-2004, 11:01 AM
The article was new in the sense that it put a number on the predicted number of years of life smokers lose.

But one thing the article doesn't talk about is what smoking does to some people before they die. My mother is in an assisted care facility (she's 82) and she has to be have 45 minute breathing treatments three times a day. Even with this she still has to use oxygen sometimes and almost always feels short of breath. She was a smoker who smoked from her teens until she got emphysema at age 45 or so. She then quit for good, but the docs said about 1/3 of her lungs were already gone. As she got older that early lung damage became more and more of a problem.

Smokers also are much more likely to have the fun of having heart attacks and possibly open heart surgery. I play pool with three smokers in their fifties, all of them have had bypass operations, one of them twice. They all quit for a while after their surgery, but all are back to smoking now.

So I think the idea of "oh well, I'll just live a shorter but happier life" is a high risk one. Some people are lucky enough to have the genetics to do this. But for the rest of the smokers its just a shorter life with more serious health problems.