Quitting smoking could give you an extra FIVE YEARS of healthy living: Heart doctors say the benefits of quitting the habit are “even better than we thought”.
- Quitting smoking is as good as taking three different types of heart medication
- Dutch researchers have calculated that quitting the habit adds 4.81 extra years of life
- Half of the millions of deaths caused by smoking each year are cardiovascular
Quitting smoking could give you five extra years of healthy living, researchers said today.
Dutch Cardiologists claim the benefits of quitting are even greater than previously thought.
The study included nearly 1,000 smokers who had recently had a heart attack or bypass surgery, but didn’t actually follow the participants.
Instead, scientists just relied on a mathematical model to calculate the effects of quitting cigarettes.
They claimed quitting smoking was theoretically as effective as taking three types of heart medication.
Dutch researchers found that the heart benefits of quitting smoking may be greater than previously thought
How dangerous is smoking for the heart?
How does tobacco damage the heart?
Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including tar and others that can narrow arteries and damage blood vessels.
While nicotine — a highly addictive toxin found in tobacco — is strongly linked to dangerous increases in heart rate and blood pressure.
Smoking also releases toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, which replaces the oxygen in the blood – reducing the availability of oxygen to the heart.
How many people does smoking kill?
Smoking is known to kill more than seven million people around the world each year, including 890,000 from inhaling secondhand smoke.
What many people don’t know, however, is that nearly half of these deaths, approximately three million, are due to heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes.
Smoking is responsible for half of all preventable smoker deaths, half of which are due to cardiovascular disease.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including tar and others, that can narrow arteries and damage blood vessels, leading to heart problems.
Around 6.9 million Britons smoke, but more than half say they want to quit. There are 34.1 million smokers in the US.
The lead author Dr. Tinka Van Trier of Amsterdam University Medical Center said: “The benefits of quitting smoking are even greater than we thought.
“Quiting the habit appears to be as effective as taking three medications to prevent heart attacks and strokes in patients who have had a previous heart attack or a procedure to open blocked arteries.
“Patients could gain nearly five years of healthy life.”
The study, which was presented at a European Society of Cardiology conference, involved 989 patients aged 45 and over.
They all continued to smoke at least six months after a heart attack or bypass surgery.
dr Van Trier added: “This analysis focused on smokers who had a heart attack and/or had undergone stenting or bypass surgery.
“This group is at particularly high risk of having another heart attack or stroke, and quitting smoking may be the most effective preventive measure.”
The analysis was based on a mathematical model developed to calculate the number of years of life they would gain if they quit smoking.
They compared this to taking three drugs: colchicine — an anti-inflammatory therapy — and cholesterol-fighting bempedoic acid and PCSK9 inhibitors.
Quitting smoking extended people’s lives by an average of 4.81 years, the model claimed. This compared to 4.83 years for the three drugs.
dr Van Trier said: “This indicates that quitting smoking is a very important step in adding healthy years to life.”
“Quitting cigarettes after a heart attack is associated with improved survival compared to continued smoking.
“If you are considering quitting smoking or would like more information about quitting smoking, please speak to a doctor.
“Your motivation is key to successfully quitting, but with medical and psychological support, breaking an addiction becomes easier.”
Ruth Goss, senior heart nurse at the British Heart Foundation, told MailOnline: “It is estimated that at least 15,000 deaths from heart disease in the UK are linked to smoking each year.
“If you want to quit, it helps to have extra support. So check with your GP practice to see if there is a nurse or counselor in your area who can help.
“Alternatively, look for a local smoking cessation service. You can also ask your doctor or pharmacist about Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) or medications to help you quit.
“Quitting smoking is just one of the steps you can take to improve your heart health.
“It’s also important to eat healthily, exercise regularly, drink less alcohol, and watch your cholesterol and blood pressure.”