Study suggests ‘it’s never too late to quit smoking’

New York – Quitting smoking may reduce heart attack risk to the same level as non-smokers, according to a study from Weill Cornell Medical College.

Researchers used data from 13,372 people in nine countries in Europe, North America and Asia to compare heart attack risk among smokers and non-smokers.

Both past and present smokers had a higher occurrence of blocked arteries than non-smokers. However, at a two-year follow-up, former smokers had heart attack and death rates at the same level of non-smokers, despite the lingering artery damage. Conversely, current smokers had almost twice the rate of death compared to non-smokers, according to a press release from the European Society of Cardiology.

“It’s never too late to quit smoking,” co-author James K. Min said in the press release. “This study clearly shows that stopping smoking lowers the risk of heart attacks and death to the level of never smokers.”

The study was presented Sept. 1 at the ESC Congress in Amsterdam.