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Get a longer, healthier life when you quit smoking at menopause

by Margery Gass | Mar 13, 2013
Two recent reports in the New England Journal of Medicine brought bad news and good news about women and smoking at midlife and beyond. The bad news: women have nearly caught up with men in their risk of dying from smoking. Men and women smokers from midlife to their 70s have a risk of dying that is three times as high as women who never smoked. Long-term smoking cuts your life expectancy by a decade.

But here’s the good news: quitting before age 40 erases most of the risk of early death. The risk of stroke and heart disease drop quickly after you stop smoking. (The risk of cancers drops more slowly.) Even if you are older than 40, you can still gain back some years. Quitting by age 50 buys back about 6 years, and quitting by age 60 about 4 years of the decade you’d lose if you didn’t quit.

We know there’s good news about menopause and aging, too, if you quit. You may be able to delay the onset of menopause, since smokers reach menopause earlier, and quitting may also decrease your hot flashes. And if you quit, you will have fewer wrinkles, age spots, and less sagging than your smoking sisters the same age.



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