New study indicates quitting smoking at any age reduces cancer risk

Quitting Smoking Benefits

Did you know that from the moment you stop smoking your body starts to repair the damage? Within 20 minutes, your pulse and blood pressure start to reduce and within eight hours of having your last cigarette, oxygen levels in your blood return to normal. By the second day, carbon monoxide in your blood will be gone completely. And now, research has shown that stopping smoking at any age reduces the risk of cancer.

A major new study, analysing medical data from nearly 3 million Koreans between 2002 and 2019, found that the chances of developing cancer halved in people who had quit for at least 15 years, compared to those who continued to smoke.

The study also showed that the younger you are to quit, the greater the benefits. Smokers who quit before the age of 50 had their risk of lung cancer fall 57% compared to smokers, while those who quit at 50 or older experienced a 40% reduction in lung cancer risk over the same time period.

What happens when you quit smoking?

After 1 day

  • Carbon monoxide is one of the hundreds of noxious chemicals present in cigarette smoke; it replaces the amount of oxygen in your blood, depriving the body of this nourishment. Within the first 24 hours, the carbon monoxide and oxygen levels in your blood return to normal

After 1 week

  • You may notice a heightened sense of smell and taste as the previously damaged nerve endings that control these senses start to regrow
  • You may feel breathing is easier as the bronchial tubes relax
  • Energy levels increase

After 1 month

  • Lung function improves as the cilla, tiny hair-like structures which move mucous out of the lung, begin to work normally
  • Circulation improves as blood pumps through the heart and muscles more easily

After 9 months

  • After 9 months, a person’s lung function increases by 10%

After 1 year

  • Smoking damages your heart by limiting oxygen flow and damaging the lining of the arteries. Quitting smoking reverses these effects and after one year your risk of a heart attack and coronary heart disease becomes half of that of someone who still smokes

After 5 years and more

  • Your risk of certain cancers including lung cancer is significantly reduced
  • At the 15-year mark, your chance of a heart attack becomes equal to a person who has never smoked

For more advice and support in quitting smoking, call +44 (0)20 4580 1152  to arrange a GP consultation with one of our GPs.