Quitting smoking doesn’t mean you are totally in the clear health-wise. A recent American study focused on the incidence of lung cancer in populations of former smokers. Even those who quit years ago remain at risk. It appears former smokers have three times more chances of developing lung cancer.
The study was performed in the Vanderbilt University medical centre (Tennessee). The results were recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Interestingly, these conclusions go against the common belief that former smokers are in the clear when it comes to smoking-related diseases.
Over 9000 patients were monitored for this vast study. The analysis ran over a 30-year period. Cases of lung cancer in the sample population amounted to 284. As expected, 93% of those who contracted the disease were heavy smokers, but more surprisingly, some had quit many years earlier.
Risks that diminish over time
The University of Vanderbilt study concluded that the chances of contracting lung cancer diminished over time. Five years after quitting, the risks were reduced by 39%. The percentage falls off faster after that mark, but the risk remains a reality. After 25 years, former smokers still had three times more chances of developing lung cancer.
Until now, it was a common belief that risks of contracting lung cancer were very small 15 years after quitting smoking. This study conclusion seems to prove the opposite. Of the sample population, 40% of those with lung cancer had quit 15 years earlier. So the moral of the story is, former smokers should still be wary.
This new data will help the medical community better understand the damage that smoking tobacco can cause. Toxic substances inhaled via this habit are a real danger over the long term. The best advice anyone could recommend is to switch to a nicotine substitute product, to quit smoking sooner rather than later.