Quitting smoking works. Doll & Peto study in BMJ

Wednesday 02 August 2000

Press release

Doll/Peto BMJ smoking cancer story

2nd August 2000

Quitting smoking works – and it’s never too late


New data [1] on the impact of quitting smoking shows that it’s never too late to pack in the cigarettes.  Stopping before 30 almost completely removes the excess risk of lung cancer, and stopping before 50 can reduce the risk by almost two thirds


Clive Bates, Director of ASH said: “No-one should ever think it’s too late to quit, smoking isn’t a one way street ending in an inevitable early and agonising death.  People can take control and reduce their risks very substantially and very quickly by giving up at any age.”


ASH cautioned teenagers and twenty-somethings against using the new findings as an ‘all-clear’ to smoke until 30 and then quit.


“The great danger about smoking in your twenties and hoping to give up later is that when the time comes you might not be able to do it. The nicotine in tobacco is as addictive as heroin or cocaine and most adults over 30 smoking today are doing it because they are hooked, not because they really want to” said  Bates.


“Smoking causes all sorts of problems other than cancer – everything from being unable to taste food and play football to asthma, cot death and heart attacks.  Even if the cancer figures might reassure younger smokers, there are many other reasons to quit” said Bates.


“There is no point in governments wasting money strenuously trying to prevent kids starting to smoke- almost everything they do will fail or make things worse.  The best approach is to tackle adult smoking- that is where the real results are achieved, and it probably sends a more useful signal to kids” said Bates.


The estimate that ten times as many people will die of smoking in the 21st Century compared to the 20th is shocking and makes the WHO international tobacco convention an urgent priority for governments.


“With all we know about smoking, it is amazing and horrifying to think the impact will be ten times as great in the next hundred years, making it the world’s greatest single avoidable health problem.  Doll and Peto have sent a powerful signal to governments – it is time to take international action to combat the most dramatic manufactured epidemic in history” said Bates.


[1] Doll, R & Peto R.Published in the BMJ 5th August 2000.  www.bmj.com


Contact:  Clive Bates, 020 7739 5902(w)   077 8679 1237 (m)  020 8800 1336(h)

Amanda Sandford 020 7739 5902 (w)