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A Healthy Lifestyle May Help Former Smokers Lower Their Risk of Death from All Causes

, by Jennifer K. Loukissas, M.P.P.

Water bottle, apples, measuring tape and towel on white wooden background. Top view

Healthy lifestyle recommendations include maintaining a healthy body weight, being physically active, eating a healthy diet, and limiting alcohol consumption.

Credit: Marco Verch Professional Photographer. CC BY 2.0.

Investigators using data from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study report that former smokers who stick to a healthy lifestyle have a lower risk of dying from all causes than those who don’t engage in healthy habits. The findings were published September 22, 2022, in JAMA Network Open, and summarized in an NCI media advisory. 

Quitting smoking is well known to have many health benefits, but former smokers still have a higher risk of disease and premature death than people who have never smoked. The reduced risk of dying was observed for specific causes, including cancer and heart and lung diseases. Lifestyle interventions have not been robustly studied in former smokers, and these new findings could have important implications for the 52 million former smokers in the United States.


Inoue-Choi M et al. Association of adherence to healthy lifestyle recommendations with all-cause and cause-specific mortality among former smokers. JAMA Netw Open. 2022.