Lung damage in smokers continues even after they stop smoking, says a new study, contradicting the common belief that bronchial disease ceases when smoking ceases.
The new finding is the first to show that once smokers get lung disease with bronchial inflammation, it will continue even after they quit smoking.
This comes from an international team of researchers in respiratory medicine including New Zealand Massey University clinical pharmacology lecturer Felix Ram.
"The study has wide implications for how we manage patients with smoking related lung disease and for all smokers at large," said Ram.
"Instead of telling smokers that it's never too late to quit, the new public health message is never take up smoking," said Ram.
The study was conducted with bronchial biopsy samples from patients in various hospitals in Britain, including the London Chest Hospital.
"This doesn't mean that there is no point in quitting smoking," Ram said. "Lung inflammatory damage will continue but smoking has other health effects and smokers will still benefit from giving up."
The research was published in the journal of the European Respiratory Society.