Quitting smoking has benefits for those with heart problems

Nov. 21 is the Great American Smokeout

(FreeImages.com/Zsuzsa N.K.)

Often times, people who have suffered a major heart-related problem think it’s too late to quit smoking -- that it won’t make a difference.

But, a recent study shows it’s never too late to quit.

The study looked at data on 4,673 patients who had heart-related events, like a heart attack or stroke.

Researchers uncovered good news for one-third of the smokers who quit after their first heart-related event.

“They saw that after any cardiovascular event, people who quit smoking they had a much favorable outcome,” said Dr. Humberto Choi, of Cleveland Clinic, who did not take part in the research. “They actually had a lower chance of having another heart attack, or another stroke, and they actually lived about five years longer compared to the people who continued to smoke.”

The people who quit smoking, especially those who were age 70 or older, saw the most benefit when it came to survival, in comparison with those who continued to smoke.

Choi said when a person quits smoking, some of the benefits are seen right away -- such as a reduction in blood pressure.

He said this research shows there is good reason to consider quitting smoking, regardless of age, or previous heart health history.

Choi reminds people that quitting smoking has more health benefits than any medicine that can be taken to improve your health.

“It’s never too late, even when you’ve already had some of the consequences from smoking, like having a heart attack or a stroke, you still have a chance to improve your health by quitting,” he said.

Complete results of the study can be found in American Heart Journal.