Originally created 08/11/00

Smoking still risky



The British Medical Journal has some good news for smokers who quit the habit or, if you prefer, the addiction. If they got off cigarettes, even late in life, they still greatly reduce their risk of lung cancer. The study goes on to note that if one quits before age 35, the chances of lung cancer drop almost as low as if one never smoked at all.

Young people could interpret this study as a green light to smoke until 35 without significant damage to their health. And judging by a survey of college students released this week, that's exactly what they're doing.

The data show that up to 50 percent of college students smoked during the past year, an increase of about 20 percent since 1997.

Perhaps their education should include a course on other health damages smoking can cause, such as heart disease or other forms of cancer. Smoking, to coin a phrase, is still a risky scheme.