People who quit smoking see their risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) immediately begin to drop, but it may take up to 16 years for their health to reach the level of someone who has never smoked, according to a new Vanderbilt study.
Previous studies have shown the association between quitting and reduced CVD risk, but have placed the time it takes for health to return to the level of a non-smoker much earlier — between five and 10 years, said lead author Meredith Duncan, MA, a database administrator for the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a PhD student in the Department of Epidemiology at Vanderbilt University.
She emphasized that smokers still have a great incentive to quit. “There is a really steep drop immediately in your risk compared to a current smoker,” she said. “You’re still reducing your risk by 38 percent even within five years of quitting.”