Surprising (Scary) Truth about Cutting Back On Smoking

So you cut back on smoking, went from a pack a day to just two or three, a dozen years ago.  Here's the really bad news.  It won't help you live longer.

According to a story by Linda Searling, a new report has found that, while cutting down on the number of cigarettes you smoke is better than staying at the same level, or increasing it, in the end it's not going to add to your longevity.

Over 5,200 smokers -- ages 40 to 65, at the start -- participated in the study.  Over the next 30 years, of the people who continued to smoke, a shocking 84 percent died, Searling reports. If they quit smoking altogether, however, those in the study were more likely to live to at least age 75.

Searling adds in the story that they also "were 25 to 35 percent less likely than the others to have died."

But, and here's the truly scary part, "There was essentially no difference in the mortality rate for people who had reduced the number of cigarettes they smoked daily and those who had continued smoking at the same rate."

The only participants to see a true change were those who smoked 21 or more cigarettes a day. 

Searling notes that half of all smokers die from smoking-related conditions, like lung cancer, but chronic smokers can still expect to die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. 

Yet, my aunt, a chain smoker lived well into her 80s, though she did die of a stroke, of which smoking, most likely, was a contributing factor. And my mother, who did quit, also died in her mid-80s, so who knows?

But you can't get around the fact that not smoking, or smoking less, is a good thing.  As Searling quotes the study authors, "Cutting back on smoking could have 'a potentially important role as a step toward smoking cessation.'”

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