close up man with cigaretteA recent study from Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv, Israel, and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, examined the survival and life expectancy rates of smokers who reduced their cigarette use instead of quitting altogether. The data was collected over a 40-year period.

While those who quit smoking completely saw a 22% reduction in the risk of early death, participants who reduced their smoking intake saw significant benefits, including a 15% reduced risk of an early death and a 23% reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality. Additionally, those who cut back saw a 22% increased chance of survival to 80 years of age; while quitters saw a 33% increase. These results show that smoking less is a valid risk reduction strategy, said Vicki Myers, a researcher at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine. She added that formerly heavy smokers had the most to gain from smoking reduction.

Researchers compiled a group of 4,633 Israeli working males, all smokers at baseline, with a median age of 51. Interviews about their smoking habits occurred in 1963 and 1965. The participants’ mortality status was followed for 40 years.

Source: American Journal of Epidemiology