Quit Sooner, Live Longer
Newly minted nonsmokers see benefits almost immediately
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2008 2:59 PM CDT
This image provided by Britain's Department of Health showing a healthy lung, left and a diseased lung, right, is one of the graphic pictures to be place on packs of cigarettes to discourage smokers.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Smokers who kick the habit see their risk of dying drop drastically after 5 years, and their risk level nears that of nonsmokers within 20 years, new research finds. In a study that followed 100,000 women over 3 decades, researchers recorded a 13% drop in death from all causes for ex-smokers 5 years after their last puffs, WebMD reports.

"The most dramatic decreases in mortality were seen within the first 5 years for many diseases and the risk kept declining over time," said one researcher. Added another doctor, "People who quit smoking, regardless of their age, live longer than people who continue to smoke. It is never too late to quit, but the earlier you quit, the better."