Study after study has shown that smokers have a lot to gain by kicking the habit, including better sleep, improved mental health, lower risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and a healthier heart and brain, to name a few.
Now, research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute offers smokers one more reason to put down their packs for good: Smokers who kick the habit can see their risk of lung cancer drop by 39 percent in just five years.
For the study, experts analyzed the smoking habits and health of more than 8,900 people over the span of 25 to 34 years. The results showed former heavy smokers who quit smoking not only saw their risk of lung cancer drop significantly but also that the risk continued to fall year after year.
While this certainly offers hope and motivation to current and former smokers, the researchers cautioned that former smokers still have lung cancer risk that is three times higher than nonsmokers, even 25 years after quitting.
“The key message here is that there is no better time to stop smoking than right now,” Dr. Joob says. “I encourage current and former smokers to speak to their doctor about smoking cessation programs and, if appropriate, undergo screening for early detection of lung cancer.”
To learn more about lung screenings or to find out if you are eligible for them, click here.