Intended for healthcare professionals


Smoking cessation

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 22 January 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:b5630
  1. Tom Treasure, professor of cardiothoracic surgery1,
  2. Janet Treasure, professor of psychiatry2
  1. 1Clinical Operational Research Unit UCL, London WC1H 0BT
  2. 2Institute of Psychiatry and King’s College London, Guy’s Hospital Campus, London SE1 9RT
  1. tom.treasure{at}

    It is never too late for people to stop, even when they have lung cancer

    Do we need more evidence on the harm done by smoking? Smoking is a major contributor to common diseases such as heart attack, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In addition, most lung cancers are caused by smoking and it is also a risk factor for cancers of the breast and bowel. The blogger who wrote last year that smoking bans were illiberal and “justified by bullshit science”1 will have gained little informed support. Smoking costs life and limb; smokers are even prematurely wrinkly.2

    The linked study by Parsons and colleagues (doi: 10.1136/bmj.b5569) adds more to the evidence. The meta-analysis of the effect of continued smoking after a diagnosis of mostly early stage lung cancer shows that continued smoking substantially increases the risk of death, and that a large proportion of the increased risk is the result of cancer progression rather than cardiorespiratory disease. The estimated effects are large, with five year survival in “quitters” in the order of 60-70% compared with about …

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