The present medical literature shows that smoking can significantly damage the lungs and cause life-long and often irreversible health conditions. Therefore, health experts suggest managing the habit slowly and quitting smoking eventually over time. However, new research suggests that smoking can be harmful even after a person has stopped.
Previously, it was established that smoking frequently can almost instantly damage the lung which can become worse with the passage of time, leading to life-threatening health issues such as lung cancer and breathing complications.
At the same time, scientists also noted that leaving smoking all at once and immediately is not only difficult for most smokers but can also be of more harm than good both for the physical and mental health.
Most of the smokers who do so experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and can have mental issues as well. Some of them then return to the habit of smoking while others may engage in harmful activities to deal with the symptoms.
In the majority of the programs and services for helping people in quitting smoking, experts often devise a week or month-long program to eventually let go of the habits with few chances of returning back to it later alongside managing withdrawal symptoms.
Now, studies are looking at the impact of smoking that remains even after a person has reduced smoking or has stopped completely. According to the new study, whose findings appear in the National Health Statistics Reports, formers smokers tend to have poor health even after quitting.
The study, which was a publication by the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, looked at the likelihood of having conditions including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), breathing problems, other chronic health conditions, and overall poor health in former smokers who are aged sixty-five and older.
To do so, Ellen A. Kramarow from the National Center for Health Statistics sourced data from the National Health Interview Survey from the year 2018.
After analyzing the data, Kramarow found that almost fifty percent of the men and thirty percent of the women in the survey, all of whom were over the age of sixty-five, were former smokers.
One of four of the total participants who were former smokers reported smoking for at least forty years. Even though all of them had now quit smoking, most of the former smokers had poor health and reported having multiple chronic health conditions.
The results remained the same after adjusting for possible factors including sociodemographic characteristics and potential limitations on social involvement in the survey.
Participants who smoked for more years tended to have more health problems than smokers who smoked for a shorter period of time.
This shows that smoking and other similar behaviors can impact health in the long-term and may cause problems even years later. A person can still have lung conditions or other issues after quitting smoking as well.
Therefore, it is better to have early life interventions and leave smoking or not start it in the first place to avoid problems in older age.