Yes, you know you should quit smoking. Your mom, your friends and people on the street tell you all the time and now you're gonna get it from me — you should probably quit smoking because, as it turns out, it's even worse for women than previously thought.
According to Dr. Prabhat Jha of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, an author on a study about the 21st century hazards of smoking, prior to now not enough women have been long term smokers for researchers to be able to properly gage the risks.
"The group of women that started smoking seriously in and around 1960 can be followed up only now -– fully five decades later –- to understand what are the full consequences of smoking among women," Jha says.
Whereas studies in the eighties found that women smokers were 13 times more likely to die of lung cancer than women who didn't smoke, a more recent analysis shows women smokers to be a whopping 26 times more likely to die from lung cancer than non smoking women.
In his study, Dr. Jha also observed that smoking, on average, shaves a full decade off of the human lifespan and halves a person's chances of living to 80. Good news, however — if you quit by the time you are 40, you can gain about 9 of those lost 10 years back.
"It's a very encouraging message," remarks Dr. Jha. "If you think about the average 45-year-old smoker in the United States, they probably started when they were age 15. They might be smoking for a quarter of a century. And they might think, 'Oh, it's too late. There's no point for me to quit because the damage is done.' But that's not true."
Female Smokers Face Greater Risk Than Previously Thought [NPR]
Image via the Everett Collection/Shutterstock.