Study: Smoking hurts quality of life in old age

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If you need another reason to quit smoking, here's one: Smoking during middle age not only shortens your life, but makes life harder when you reach old age.

More than 1,600 Finnish men between the ages of 40 and 55 took part in the study, which spanned more than a quarter-century. A total of 24% of the men were smokers, while 37% had quit smoking before the study, and 39% had never picked up the habit. Men who had smoked heavily in middle age had difficulties by old age with daily activities, such as walking short distances, climbing stairs, carrying groceries and bathing, according to the researchers at Finland's University of Helsinki.

Meanwhile, pack-a-day smokers—those who smoke 20 or more—died an average of 10 years sooner than their non-smoking counterparts. Also, men who had quit smoking after the study started did not catch up with never-smokers in terms of physical functioning.The report appears in the October 13 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
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