October 15, 2008
Cigarette Smoking Accelerates Aging By 10 Years

You already know that cigarettes are toxic cancer sticks and increase risks of a large number of diseases. Some smokers think their habit just increases their risk of dying from one disease or another and that perhaps they'll beat the odds. But smoking speeds the aging process and makes the whole body about an additional 10 years older after years of heaving smoking.

CHICAGO—Health-related quality of life appears to deteriorate as the number of cigarettes smoked per day increases, even in individuals who subsequently quit smoking, according to a report in the October 13 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

>Smoking has been shown to shorten men’s lives between seven and 10 years, according to background information in the article. It also has been linked to factors that may reduce quality of life, including poor nutrition and lower socioeconomic status.

Arto Y. Strandberg, M.D., of the University of Helsinki, and colleagues followed 1,658 white men born between 1919 and 1934 who were healthy at their first assessment, conducted in 1974. Participants were mailed follow-up questionnaires in 2000 that assessed their current smoking status, health and quality of life. Deaths were tracked through Finnish national registers.

During the 26-year follow-up period, 372 (22.4 percent) of the men died. Those who had never smoked lived an average of 10 years longer than heavy smokers (more than 20 cigarettes per day). Non-smokers also had the best scores on all health-related quality of life measures, especially those associated with physical functioning. Physical health deteriorated at an increasing rate as the number of cigarettes smoked per day increased, with heavy smokers experiencing a decline equivalent to 10 years of aging.

"Although many smokers had quit smoking between the baseline investigation in 1974 and the follow-up examination in 2000, the effect of baseline smoking status on mortality and the quality of life in old age remained strong," the authors write. "In all, the results presented here are troubling for those who were smoking more than 20 cigarettes daily 26 years earlier; in spite of the 68.9 percent cessation rate during follow-up, 44.1 percent of the originally heavy smokers had died, and those who survived to the mean [average] age of 73 years had a significantly lower physical health-related quality of life than never-smokers."

Smokers should not fool themselves. They are going down a faster slope into old age with weakening and infirmities hitting sooner.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 October 15 10:55 PM  Aging Studies


Comments
rob said at October 15, 2008 11:39 PM:

Crap, I guess I have to quit smoking There is also a bit of evidence that cigarette smoking reduces intelligence and executive function. Though as a smoker, I'm not capable of judging the quality of the evidence.

TH said at October 17, 2008 3:48 PM:

Gee, I thought all the money they stole from the tobacco companies 20 years ago settled this issue, the real problem now is the weaning of the intelligentsia from its need for more intelligentsia on this issue. Shouldn't there more windmill nonsense to blow earmark money on than this worn out crap?

Lono said at October 20, 2008 12:21 PM:

As someone who has more than his share of vices I feel I can still confidently say: Smokers are Idiots.

(I have also lost several dear loved ones in their early and late 50's due entirely to smoking related diseases)

Don't be a bloody moron - quit here, quit now!

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