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Quitting smoking can reverse some risks, research finds

New research has shown that smokers who are able to kick the habit can experience reduced risk of heart attack and early death, although no evidence was found to show that artery damage can be reversed.

A team of US-based scientists found that while giving up cigarettes will not undo any damage done to the arteries, smokers who quit can eventually reduce their risk of heart disease to the same level as non-smokers.

James Min, an associate professor with New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College, said while several studies found a link between giving up smoking and a reduced risk of heart attack, none had examined the effect on coronary artery disease.

In his presentation to the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2013, which is taking place in Amsterdam, Prof Min confirmed he plans follow-up research on the subject to determine why these changes can happen. “For example, will the severe blockages observed in patients who have quit smoking provoke adverse events after two years (the duration of the present study)?” he questioned.

“Further, does the duration of smoking or the number of cigarettes smoked per day affect the severity of CAD or the prognosis related to quitting smoking?”

“It’s never too late to quit smoking,” he says, “This study clearly shows that stopping smoking lowers the risk of heart attacks and death to the level of never-smokers.”


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