Kicking that smoking habit could start improving your heart health a lot sooner than previously thought, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that, once a smoker quits for good, it may take only about eight years for their risk of heart disease to drop to the level of a non-smoker. (Via WLNS)
Previous studies suggested it took 15 years for the risk of heart failure, heart attacks and strokes to drop that low. (Via News 12 New Jersey)
To get these new results, researchers looked at 13 years of data from the Cardiovascular Health Study, which compared 853 people over 65 who quit smoking to over 2,000 people who had never smoked. (Via CHS-NHLBI)
They found that, after an average of eight years, smokers who smoked 32 "pack years" were able to lower their risk of heart disease to the levels of nonsmokers. (Via Everyday Health)
A "pack year" is a unit of measurement to determine the amount someone has smoked over a long period of time.
It's calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years the person was a smoker. (Via WBTW)
But if you still need convincing to kick the habit, previous research has found when you quit smoking, your health starts to improve within days.
After 48 hours, your sense of smell and taste improve, after 72, it's easier to breathe. (Via CNN )
The new findings were presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions.