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Cigarettes Rob Smokers of 10 Years of Life

Tue Jun 22, 2004 11:16 AM ET

By Patricia Reaney
LONDON (Reuters) - Cigarette smokers die on average 10 years earlier than non-smokers but kicking the habit, even at 50 years old, can halve the risk, according to half a century of research reported on Tuesday.

Findings from a 50-year study into the dangers of smoking showed that if people quit by the age of 30 they can avoid nearly all of the risk of dying prematurely.

"Cigarette smoking reduces the expectation of life by 10 years," said 91-year-old Oxford University Professor Richard Doll who discovered the link between cancer and smoking.

"It is clear that consistent cigarette smoking doubles mortality throughout adult life -- middle and old age. It is also clear that giving up smoking can eliminate a very large part of the hazard," he told Reuters.

Doll and Bradford Hill confirmed the link between smoking and lung cancer in a landmark study published in the British Medical Journal on June 26, 1954.

Half a century later, Doll and Oxford University Professor Richard Peto report the 50-year results from the same study of 34,439 British doctors in the journal.

Article: http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=healthNews&storyID=5483593