February 6, 2012

College Students: Take 'Quit Smoking 101'

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Joseph V. Madia, MD By:

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Smokers who quit had improved respiratory symptoms in two weeks

(dailyRx News) For young adults who smoke, relief is just around the corner. A new study shows young adults who quit smoking had improved respiratory function in as little as two weeks.

Smokers, aged 18 to 24, who quit smoking had improved respiratory function, most notably decreased coughing.

By understanding how quickly the impact of quitting smoking occurs, days not decades, may help motivate younger smokers to quit.

"Ask your doctor about free quitting smoking programs in your state."

The study was led by Karen S. Calabro, Dr.PH, and Alexander V. Prokhorov, M.D., Ph.D., of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The study involved two groups of college students totaling 327 smokers. Of the 327 college students, 60 percent smoked between five to 10 cigarettes a day and 56 percent had smoked for one to five years.

In the group that had succeeded in quitting smoking, fewer respiratory problems were reported within two weeks when compared to the group who did not succeed in quitting. This could help motivate younger smokers to quit.

By quitting at a younger age, smokers can reduce the damage that cigarettes could cause to the lungs. The group that quit smoking had done so successfully for two weeks up to 78 weeks The two groups responded to questions about respiratory symptoms at the start of the study as well as at the end of the study.

The college students who quit smoking had five fewer days with respiratory problems per week when compared to the group of students who did not quit smoking.

According to the study, between 12 to 27 percent of college students smoke. Because of their age, college-aged smokers may not realize how immediate respiratory improvement can be if they choose to quit. This study helps highlight the short-term results when it comes to quitting smoking, according to researchers.

Counselors and intervention programs can highlight the immediate results of quitting smoking to college students, according to researchers. By showing young smokers that the benefits of quitting smoking occurs in the present, and not the distant future, it may motivate more smokers to quit. 

Long-term smoking can lead to COPD and lung cancer. By getting younger smokers to quit earlier, the risk of developing COPD and lung cancer will be reduced. Stressing the immediate relief quitting provides might be a motivating factor for current smokers to become former smokers. 

No funding information was published. No author conflicts were reported.

This study was published in the February edition of the Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology.

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Reviewed by: 
Joseph V. Madia, MD
Review Date: 
February 6, 2012

Last Updated:
February 6, 2012