Quitting the habit is especially tough for heavy smokers. Most go through major withdrawal symptoms and spend months learning new behaviors to replace the old familiar smoking habits.
New research shows that if heavy smokers find it easy to quit, it may indicate a serious condition. In a study conducted at the VA Medical Center in Philadelphia, over 100 lung cancer patients were asked about their smoking habits. Almost half of those studied quit an average of 2.7 years before they were diagnosed, 31 percent of those said they quit easily. Of those that continued to smoke, they cut back on their habits by at least half.
"We believe that long-term heavy smokers who quit, especially without difficulty, are at risk for having or developing lung cancer," wrote Barbara Campling, oncologist for Thomas Jefferson University, in the March issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology. "We speculate that some lung cancers may produce a factor that blocks or emulates the effects of nicotine."
The researchers suggested that, “if a heavy smoker suddenly feels no need to smoke, that should be investigated."
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