Your body has a remarkable ability to heal, and this was recently highlighted by a study of over 1 million women born during the “greatest generation,” – around the year 1940.
This was a generation of women for whom smoking was very commonplace, and the pastime actually reached its peak of popularity as they were coming into adulthood.
Obviously, the risks of smoking are now well established, and the study, which followed the women until January 2011, found that smokers lost at least 10 years of lifespan compared to non-smokers, and two-thirds of all deaths of smokers in their 50s, 60s, and 70s were caused by smoking.1
What was quite remarkable, however, was what happened among the women who chose to quit…
Quitting Smoking Before Age 40 Dramatically Improves Your Health
Among the women who quit smoking before the age of 40, more than 90 percent of the excess mortality caused by continuing smoking was avoided. For women who quit before the age of 30, the benefit was even more dramatic, with 97 percent of excess mortality vanishing. The researchers stated:2
“Although the hazards of smoking until age 40 years and then stopping are substantial, the hazards of continuing are ten times greater.”
Ideally, it’s best to not start smoking in the first place, but if you’re a current smoker, the research suggests that no matter what your age, quitting can be extremely beneficial. For instance, if you quit smoking before the age of 50, you cut your risk of dying in the next 15 years in half compared to those who keep smoking.3
One in five U.S. adults currently smoke, and smoking is conventionally viewed as the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, responsible for nearly one in five deaths.4 As the American Cancer Society stated:5
“About half of all Americans who keep smoking will die because of the habit. Each year about 443,000 people in the United States die from illnesses related to tobacco use. Smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs combined.”
However, we know this view is a distorted lie and that while smoking is indeed a pernicious behavior and best avoided, it pales in comparison to two other major risk factors. Sadly these risk factors are not viewed as risk factors at all so you will never see them quoted in the media. These two risk factors are the excessive use of sugar and relying on the conventional health care system for health challenges. Both of these behaviors are far more deadly than smoking.
My mom has been a smoker for over sixty years and I really don’t hassle her about it because she is not taking any medications, has a really great diet and uses a device to poke holes in her cigarettes that reduces the amount of smoke she inhales by 95%. I have learned that it is best to allow her to have this one vice and help control the other variables, which are far more damaging to her health.
Some researchers like Dr. Monte believe that one of the main toxins in cigarette smoke is methanol. This is the same toxin in diet sodas. The reason this is significant? If you drink small amounts of alcohol a day you can have the alcohol dehydorenase enzyme preferentially metabolize the ethanol rather than converting the methanol to formaldehyde. However I believe it is healthier to eat fermented veggies, as the bacteria will also produce small amounts of alcohol and provide the same benefit.