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DURHAM, N.C., Jun 04, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Smokers who kick the habit early enough can live as long and be as healthy as non-smokers, researchers at Duke University in North Carolina said.
The team analyzed data from interviews with some 21,000 men and women, ages 50 to 70, about their health and quality of life -- including their ability to function physically, emotionally and socially.
Former smokers felt healthier and lived longer, which researchers said was no surprise, but former smokers who had quit at least 15 years prior lived just as long and with as many years of healthy life as those who had never smoked.
"Any time smokers quit, they're bettering their health," researcher Donald Taylor Jr. said in a statement. "The message is that it's better to quit now than later. The result is a longer, healthier life."
The researchers said emphasis on smoking's impact on quality of life, particularly due to debilitating diseases that steal mobility and independence, as well as the ability to regain normal health, might persuade more people to quit smoking.
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.