The age of the smoker doesn’t matter. It takes at least 8 years for levels of the harmful C-reactive protein to drop. And the effects are always visible, regardless of the age of the smoker, but taking into consideration the results of the analysis conducted on more than three thousand smokers, scholars have concluded that the values of the protein, an important marker of inflammation, gradually fall significantly only after the eighth year without touching a cigarette. In general, however, experts in this field have no doubt: the sooner we abandon cigarettes, the better. We commented on the results of the study recently published in the columns of the journal “Scientific Reports” with Dr. Licia Siracusano, onco-haematologist at Humanitas.
Inflammation values related to the risk of developing cancer
The higher the levels of inflammation marked by the values of the C-reactive protein, the greater the likelihood of developing lung and colorectal cancer, as well as acute cardio (heart attack) and cerebrovascular (stroke) events. The advantage would not be enjoyable in the short term, however, but only after several years after the cessation of smoking. Hence the importance of “breaking the chain” as soon as possible, so that the benefits can be enjoyed for a longer time. Using data from two lung cancer screening studies conducted on 3050 smokers and ex-smokers between 2000 and 2010, the researchers noted that the prevalence of a high inflammatory level was reduced by twenty percent in ex-smokers compared to the current ones. Four years after the last cigarette, Pcr levels decreased significantly with increasing years of abstinence: a reduction of about fifty percent after eight years of cessation compared to those who continued to smoke. A further analysis after an average time of almost three and a half years has instead confirmed that there was no significant reduction in values at least until four years after the cessation of smoking. A result that clarified the role of smoking cessation on Pcr.
It’s always the right time to stop.
Quitting smoking is also useful after the age of 50, but it is possible to reduce the risk in those who have a high inflammatory state by acting on other factors that can reduce it: some drugs, a healthier diet and a regular physical activity. The length of your life in which you are exposed to smoking is also more important than the length of your smoked cigarettes. Body weight also plays a key role but, as it takes several years for CPR to decrease, the study reiterates the importance of quitting as soon as possible. Moreover, Pcr levels are not only influenced by smoking, but also by body weight and fat mass percentage. For this reason, in order to see the value decrease, it is necessary to act on different components. It is also important to follow a weight control program when you stop smoking.