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Five-year fillip for quitters

Within five years of quitting smoking, women dramatically reduce their risk of death from coronary heart disease and have a 20% lower risk of death from smoking-related cancer, a large US study shows.

Date on more than 100,000 women taking part in the Nurses' Health study showed a 13% drop in all-cause mortality within five years of quitting compared with people who continued to smoke. The excess risk fell to that of non smokers within 20 years.

As much as 61% of the potential benefit of quitting on coronary heart disease mortality occurred within the first five years, the research showed.

JAMA 2008; 299: 2037-47

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