Even temporary smoking cessation cuts decline in pulmonary function

מתוך medicontext.co.il

WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – Long term followup of more than a thousand men indicates that even intermittent smoking cessation helps delay a decline in pulmonary function and reduce the risk of mortality, according to Finnish researchers.

In the September issue of Thorax, Dr. Margit Pelkonen of the University of Kuopio and colleagues note that "little is known in the long term about individuals who give up smoking temporarily or quitters with lower initial pulmonary function."

To investigate, the researchers studied data from two Finnish cohorts in a 30-year international epidemiologic study. In the 1007 participants who were evaluated during the first 15 years, the adjusted decline in lung function (FEV 0.75) was 46.4 mL/year in those who had never smoked, 55.5 mL/year in permanent quitters, 55.5 mL/year in intermittent quitters and 66.0 mL/year in "continuous" smokers (p < 0.001 for trend).

Permanent and intermittent quitters, considered together, had a slower decline in pulmonary function than continuous smokers "across the entire range" of baseline lung function, according to the report. Furthermore, among both never-smokers and continuous smokers, those who died had a significantly more rapid decline in lung function than survivors (p < 0.001).

Over the 30 years of followup, "never smokers, past smokers, and [intermittent] quitters had significantly lower total mortality than continuous smokers," the researchers say, "partly because of their slower decline in FEV 0.75."

The advantageous effect of even a temporary cessation of decline in pulmonary function, Dr. Pelkonen told Reuters Health, "is encouraging, because for many smokers the process of quitting requires several attempts before the habit is eliminated."

The results also suggest "that the beneficial effect of smoking cessation on mortality may partly be mediated through a reduced decline in pulmonary function. Thus, too much emphasis cannot be given for smoking cessation."

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