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Encouraging news for former smokers
- By Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
Some former smokers think they have probably damaged their body already, and that it’s too late for a healthy lifestyle to help them. Not so. A large study published online Sept. 22, 2022, by JAMA Network Open found that a healthy lifestyle enabled even former smokers to lower their risk of premature death. Researchers analyzed the self-reported health information and lifestyle habits of about 160,000 former smokers (average age 62) and then checked in on them about 20 years later. Compared with those who said they weren’t the best about maintaining healthy habits, the ones who said they were the most diligent about exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake, and eating a healthy diet had a 27% lower risk of death from any cause (including a 24% reduction in cancer death risk).
Image: © Nattapong Wongloungud/Getty Images
About the Author
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
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