Quitting smoking in old age can cut the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to a meta-analysis by researchers from the German Cancer Research Centre.
The researchers examined 25 studies, incorporating over 500,00 people aged 60 and older in total. They found that those who smoked were twice as likely to die of cardiovascular disease as someone who did not smoke. They also found that the risk of developing cardiovascular disease increased in line with the number of cigarettes the patient smoked each day.
Christopher Allen, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: 'The evidence that smoking causes significant harm to your heart is overwhelming. This study further emphasises just how important it is that we do everything in our power to quit.'
The study also found that those who quit, even if they were still smoking when they were 60 years old, had a decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The decrease in the risk of developing cardiovascular was particularly pronounced in the first five years after quitting, and the risk continued to fall for each year after the patient had quit smoking.
Mr Allen added: 'Giving up can potentially add years to your life and, as this research suggests, the benefits can be felt at any age so it's never too late to kick the habit.'