Quitting smoking can add years, quality of life

smoking
Credit: Vera Kratochvil/public domain

As resolutions go, quitting smoking could be the most important choice on a smoker's list.

Smokers are more likely to develop diseases like lung, throat and . And they're more likely to die earlier than are people who don't light up.

Dr. J. Taylor Hays, director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center, says it's never too late to quit the habit.

To younger smokers, those younger than 40-years-old, Dr. Hays asks, "Do you want to add 10 years to your life?"

He says, if the answer is yes, quit smoking.

"Do you want to avoid all of the ill health effects—chronic lung , , ?" he asks. "Stop smoking."

Dr. Hays says those diseases are intimately associated with smoking, and, if people stop at a young age, they'll avoid virtually all of them.

"And they'll add years—not just length of life, but quality of life," says Dr. Hays.

As for older smokers, Dr. Hays says it's never too late to stop.

"Make an attempt," he says. "You still can avoid a lot of the ill health effects of , stopping whenever. So if you've tried and failed, try again. It's never too late to quit."

Dr. Hays says the best way to quit is to make a plan and stick to it.

"And that plan should include some counseling and behavioral therapy, and medications that will reduce withdrawal and help maintain abstinence," says Dr. Hays.


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