Quitting Saves Lives

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Story Updated: Jan 9, 2014

"I've smoked for about 20 years"...I've never smoked before "I've tried to quit but I've never succeeded" I don't smoke because I think it's unhealthy.

We've all heard quitting saves lives, but how many?

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds over the last 50 years, tobacco control is responsible for preventing 8 million premature smoking-related deaths.

The researchers analyzed smoking patterns and mortality rates before the 1964 Surgeon General's warning and compared them to similar data from 1964 through 2012.

Between 17 and 18 million deaths were associated with the use of tobacco, of cigarette smoking. An additional 8 million would have died we estimate had this tobacco control not occurred.

Life expectancy at age 40 also increased during the 1964 to 2012 time period another 7.8 years for men and 5.4 years for women and tobacco control is associated with nearly a third of that gain for both genders, according to the study.

On average we found that 19 or 20 years of life were gained by the individuals who avoided early death by quitting smoking or never starting.

The researchers say while this is a significant public health achievement, more needs to be done because smoking continues to be a leading contributor to the nation's death toll.

My advice is just don't start Someone who's considering smoking should not consider it ever Don't start don't start.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with news from today that can lead to healthy tomorrows.

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