A new report has indicated that non-smokers lead longer and better quality lives than those who smoke heavily.
According to the studies in Archives of Internal, not only does smoking reduce men's lives between seven and 10 years, its increased capacity per day also brings down the health-related quality of life - even in people who later quit smoking.
The report that focused on smoking cessation strategies also linked smoking with consequential poor nutrition and lower socio-economic standing.
Arto Y. Strandberg, M.D., of the University of Helsinki, and colleagues interviewed white men born between 1919 and 1934, who were healthy at their first evaluation, held in 1974.
These men were then mailed follow-up questionnaires in 2000 enquiring their current smoking status, health and quality of life while number of deaths was tracked through 'Finnish' national registers.
However, in between the 26-year follow-up period, it was found that 372 men (22.4 per cent) from 1,658 questioned had passed away.
Those who never touched a cigarette lived an average of 10 years longer, than those who smoked heavily with more than 20 cigarettes per day.
The non-smokers further topped the health-related quality life list in terms of physical functioning as opposed to heavy smokers who's health deteriorated at an increasing rate with the rise in their cigarette consumption per day.
Their grave smoking further led heavy smokers to experience declined health corresponding to 10 years of aging.
The authors wrote: "Although many smokers had quit smoking between the baseline investigation in 1974 and the follow-up examination in 2000, the effect of baseline smoking status on mortality and the quality of life in old age remained strong.
"In all, the results presented here are troubling for those who were smoking more than 20 cigarettes daily 26 years earlier; in spite of the 68.9 percent cessation rate during follow-up, 44.1 percent of the originally heavy smokers had died, and those who survived to the mean [average] age of 73 years had a significantly lower physical health-related quality of life than never-smokers."
The investigators further added that these revelations might just help people to see how smoking weighs down on society and may even discourage smokers in future.
They said: "The argument of better quality of life may be especially meaningful for the aging smoker but, as our results show, for the best health-related quality of life, the habit should not be started at all."
The report was published in the October 13 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.