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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Quit Smoking
April 2000

Q. After a certain age, is it still worthwhile to try to quit smoking? I am 70-years-old.

A. It is never too late to gain some benefit by quitting smoking. Although it is true that had you quit smoking sooner, you would have gained more benefit, it is still a very worthwhile endeavor. You will cut your risk of having a heart attack and stroke by a significant amount.

Also, you will have less frequent respiratory infections, and decrease your risk of pneumonia. If you have emphysema, you may be able to cut down on the amount of meds needed to control your condition. It is true that it takes about 20 years of being smoke free before your risk of lung cancer approaches that of one who never smoked.

Also, your exercise tolerance should improve as should your taste of food. Also, given that the price of cigarettes continues to increase, you will save lots of money!

Good luck!

Reference NCI (National Cancer Institute): 1-800-4CANCER

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