Healthy advice for young smokers

A new study shows that 18- to 24-year-olds who stop smoking for at least two weeks report substantially fewer respiratory symptoms, especially coughing. The study findings are detailed online in Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology, a peer-reviewed journal.

Karen Calabro, DrPH, and Alexander Prokhorov, MD, PhD, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, compared self-reported respiratory symptoms among two groups of college students who participated in programs designed to motivate them to stop smoking.

One group achieved smoking cessation for two weeks or longer and the other group failed to stop smoking. More than half of the students smoked 5-10 cigarettes a day and had smoked for 1-5 years. 

“That the benefit of stopping smoking starts in days to weeks — not years or decades — is important. Now health care providers can counsel young smokers that their breathing can feel better soon after they stop. This can help to motivate young adults to stop smoking before the severe damage is done,” said Harold Farber, MD, MSPH, editor of the journal and associate professor of pediatrics, section of pulmonology at Baylor College of Medicine.

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