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Smoking Cessation Health Center

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Early Death Risk From Smoking

If you continue to smoke, you have a 50% chance of dying early because of your smoking. On average, people who smoke die nearly 14 years earlier than people who do not smoke.1

Quitting smoking will add time to your life no matter how old you are or how long you've been smoking, because quitting smoking reduces your risk for life-threatening health problems. The amount of time you will gain depends on how long you've been smoking, how many cigarettes you smoke each day, and whether you already have other health problems when you quit.

  • For those who quit smoking before age 35, almost all of the disease risk from smoking is eliminated.
  • If you quit smoking before you turn 50, your risk of dying in the next 15 years is half that of a person who continues to smoke after age 50.1
  • Even men and women who quit at age 65 to 69 increase their life expectancy.

People who have become seriously ill because they smoke have a chance to live longer and are less likely to develop dangerous infections, such as pneumonia, if they quit.


  1. American Cancer Society (2010). Prevention and Early Detection: Guide to Quitting Smoking. Atlanta: American Cancer Society. Available online:

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJohn Hughes, MD - Psychiatry
Last RevisedJuly 6, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 06, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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