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Fag End: Never to Late to Quit Says Smoking Study

Smokers who quit even in old age can massively reduce their chances of dying, says new research by scientist.

A new study of 9,000 smokers aged between 50 and 74 showed those who continued to smoke were nearly twice as likely to die from strokes or heart attacks than those who'd quit or had never smoked.

"In short, a 60-year-old smoker had the heart attack risk of a 79-year-old non-smoker, and the stroke risk of a 69-year-old non-smoker," said study head Herman Brenner from the German Cancer Research Centre.

And quitting can bring quick benefits, shows the report.

"A smoker's risk of stroke or heart attack declines by more than 40 percent over the first five years after the last cigarette," said Brenner.

Meanwhile, a second study showed an 8.6 per cent reduction in heart attacks in Germany since a ban on smoking in public places was introduced six years ago.

The report - by the Kiel Institute for Therapy and Health Research - estimates the ban prevented more than 35,000 serious heart illnesses which would have cost 150 million GBP to treat.

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