Smoking is still the leading preventable cause of death. Not only does tobacco smoke cause lung cancer, it is also implicated in heart disease, other cancers and respiratory diseases. As per WHO, an estimated 3 million people in industrialized countries will have died as a result of tobacco use by 2030, and an additional 7 million people in developing countries face the same fate.
Women who quit smoking have a 21 percent lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease within five years of quitting their last cigarette. The risks of dying from other conditions also decline after quitting, although the time frame varies depending on the disease. For chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, it may take up to 20 years. It’s never too early to stop, and it’s never too late to stop.
Women who are current smokers have almost triple their risk of overall death compared with non smoker women. Current smokers also have a 63 percent increased risk for colon cancer compared with never–smokers, while former smokers have a 23 percent increased risk. There was no significant association between smoking and ovarian cancer.
Women who started smoking earlier in life are at a higher risk for overall mortality, of dying from respiratory disease and from any smoking–related disease. However, a smoker’s overall risk of dying returns to the level of a never–smoker 20 years after quitting. The overall risk decline by 13 percent within the first five years of abstaining. Most of the excess risk of dying from coronary heart disease vanishes within five years of quitting.
For chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the return to normal takes 20 years, although there is an 18 percent reduction in the risk of death seen within five to 10 years after quitting.
And the risk for lung cancer does not return to normal for 30 years after quitting, although there is a 21 percent reduction in risk within the first five years.