Winners quit and quitters win, say anti-smoking groups
Smokers who make a New Year's resolution to quit smoking will start feeling the benefits by 2am on New Year's Day.
And smokers under 35 who make the decision to permanently butt out will have a life expectancy similar to that of non-smokers.
But, Professor David Hill, the chairman of the National Tobacco Campaign Research and Evaluation Committee, said, smokers over 35 years of age would also benefit from giving up.
"If you quit before the age of 35, you have a life expectancy similar to that of non-smokers," Prof Hill said today.
"So no matter how old you are, there are good reasons to give up this New Year."
He said the health benefits of quitting would start within two hours of giving up.
"If you quit at midnight on New Year's Eve, by 2am nicotine will be out of your system," Prof Hill said.
"And the really good news is that one year after you stop smoking, your risk of heart disease is down to almost half that of a smoker's.
"After 10 years, your risk of lung cancer is halved."
He said within three months a smoker should feel their lungs function more effectively as the cilia, the hair-like cleaning system in the lungs, start to recover and remove the mucus in the lungs.
"You'll find that exercising and activities like climbing stairs or running for a bus will be much easier," Prof Hill said.
"If you are thinking of quitting for New Year's, now is the time to make sure you're well prepared and have a plan in place to quit smoking."
He said a visit to a general practitioner, pharmacist, or other health care professional for advice and support would help in the attempt to quit.
"Long term quitting success rates are increased when cessation products are combined with counselling, education, and interventions by GPs and pharmacists," Prof Hill said.
"Because doctors often see their patients over a long period of time, they are well placed to provide ongoing support and advice."