Research shows smoking will knock off 10 years of your life - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Research shows smoking will knock off 10 years of your life

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According to the New England Journal of Medicine, smoking accounts for nearly 200,000 deaths annually in the U.S.

Smokers lose about 10 years of their life compared to those who don't.

Dr. Phil Huang with Travis County Health and Human Services feels the study is pretty spot on and certainly true in the Austin area.

"Number one killer by disease is cancer, number two is heart disease, number four is stroke, number five is chronic lung disease. So four out of the top five leading causes of death in Travis County are related directly to tobacco use and so it's entirely preventable," Dr. Huang said.

The study did have some good news however. If you quit smoking before the age of 40, the chances of dying a smoking-related death are reduced by about 90 percent.

"Exactly, I mean, the earlier you can quit, the more you see some of the beneficial results. And this is something that's entirely preventable," Huang said.

Linda Terry works in Dr. Huang's office as a policy aid. She started smoking when she was 19 years old. When her husband was sick in the hospital a few years back and she had to walk blocks away from the hospital in the cold just to smoke, she had an epiphany.

 

"One cold February day, standing under a golf umbrella freezing, I thought 'Linda you're a smart woman, you're a professional. This is the dumbest thing you've ever done.' And so I decided I was going to quit smoking," Terry said.

So she did. She even wears a pair of earrings she bought from all the money she saved from not buying cigarettes.

Her husband had been a smoker since World War II and died several years ago due to complications from it.

Her advice to young people--don't start.

"It's sad. It's hard on the survivors to watch someone just diminish as a human being until his skin...it was his skin and his bones...so that he couldn't pick up his own body weight. Now, I had already quit smoking. But I can guarantee that I'm not gonna end up that way. Because I know that I quit and I'm really glad that I quit," Terry said.

According to the American Lung Association, only two states earned "A's" for sufficiently investing in their tobacco prevention and control programs.

Texas along with 41 other states and the District of Columbia got "F's" for failing to invest even 50 percent of what the CDC recommends to properly educate people on how dangerous smoking can be.

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