Quitting smoking for a year at a time can keep lungs from deteriorating and reduce the risk of death, according to American researchers. At the University of Ohahio, Dr.Margit Pelkon and collegues investigated the effects of quitting smoking.
They studied more than 1,000 Finnish participants in four groups: those who had never smoked, those who had quit permanently, those who had quit intermittently, and those who had never quit.
To be considered intermittent quitters, smokers had to have quit for at least a year. According to a report permanent and intermittent quitters, together, had a slower decline in lung function than continuous smokers.Among both non smokers and continuous smokers, those who died had a significantly more rapid decline in lung function than survivors.
Over the 30 years of follow-up done by the researchers, "non smokers, past smokers and (intermittent) quitters had significantly lower total mortality than continuous smokers."
According to Dr.Pelkon, the advantage of even a temporary cessation of decline in lung function is encouraging, since the process of quitting requires several attempts before the habit is eliminated.
The results also suggest that the beneficial effect of smoking cessation on mortality may partly be mediated through a reduced decline in pulmonary (lung) function.