Updated 03 May 2019

Cutting back doesn't help

Cutting back on the number of cigarettes smoked may not help to stave off respiratory illness in heavy smokers, says a new study.

Quitting smoking offers best benefits

Dr Nina Godtfredsen and colleagues at Copenhagen University Hospital found that reducing the number of cigarettes smoked did not appear to have any long-term benefits in terms of death risk, compared to not cutting down at all.

The study, reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology, assessed the cause of death for nearly 20 000 people over a 15-year period.

The researchers compared four groups: heavy smokers (15 or more cigarettes a day) who cut down on the number of cigarettes they smoked by at least half, but didn't quit, smokers who quit, heavy smokers who did not change their smoking habits and light smokers, who smoked 14 cigarettes or less every day.

Heavy smokers who cut their cigarette intake by half saw no reduction in deaths from any cause during the study period. Quitters, however, had a 35% lower risk of death from all causes than those who continued to smoke heavily.

The researchers found that light smokers' death risk was 25% lower.

Quitters cut their risk of death from tobacco-related cancer by 64%, while those who cut down saw no significant reduction in death risk from such cancers.

The researchers also found no difference in respiratory disease or death risk from heart disease between people who reduced their smoking and those who continued to smoke heavily. – (Health24)

Read more:
Ways to quit smoking
If I have COPD, why should I stop smoking?

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