Clean living linked to lower mortality in ex-smokers

An important message for ex-smokers: You can conquer a history of vice through virtue.

Researchers have found that people with a history of smoking who exercise regularly, eat nutritious foods and maintain a healthy weight can reduce their risk of early death by nearly 30% compared to those who do not adopt such good habits.

“Involvement in more aspects of a healthy lifestyle was associated with a lower risk of death than engaging in one,” said Maki Inoue-choi, PhD, an epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., who led the new study. “Ex-smokers may benefit from engaging in one of the healthy lifestyle recommendations but get more benefit if they follow more of them.”

For the study published in JAMA Network is open, Inoue Choi and colleagues analyzed survey data from 159,937 former smokers in the United States. The data was part of a larger look at about 570,000 people who took part in the National Institutes of Health – AARP Study of Diet and Health. The study’s primary outcome was deaths on or before December 31, 2019, and participants had a median follow-up period of about 19 years.

Ex-smokers who adhered to the health recommendations were 27% less likely to die during the study period than those who did not follow the recommendations.

The effect appears to be cumulative. The risk of all-cause death was 12% lower for those with average adherence to health recommendations and 4% for those with a slightly higher-than-average adherence rate, according to the researchers. They found that people who closely adhered to the recommendations were less likely to die from cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease during the study period.

Overall mortality rates were lower among those who quit smoking earlier. However, better adherence to healthy lifestyle recommendations was associated with a lower risk of death regardless of when a person quit smoking.

More than 50 million Americans have quit smoking, according to Inoue-choi. Previous studies It has shown significant health benefits to a healthier lifestyle and smoking cessation.

“Ex-smokers are a large group of people who by nature may be particularly motivated to quit smoking to adhere to other evidence-based healthy lifestyle recommendations,” she said.

Evidence appears That alcohol consumption and smoking increased during the epidemic, but according to Inoue-choi, there is very little research on the effects of these increases on former smokers.

According to Hilary Tindle MD, MPH, founding director of the Vanderbilt Center for Tobacco addiction and Lifestyle, Nashville, Tennessee, the new findings are important because of the message they send to patients.

“You don’t have to be the spoiled child of health—medium-term commitment reduces mortality. Even if you implement some recommendations, you boost your overall health,” Tindle said.

Gamma neto is open. Posted online September 22, 2022. full text

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute Internal Research Program for Official Duties of Government Employees. Inoue-Choi has not mentioned any related financial relationships. Tindle does not state any relevant financial relationships.

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