If you're a decades-long smoker who has ever thought, "Well, no use quitting after all this time, the damage has been done," a new study is here to tell you you're wrong. Experts from the Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany, examined 17 smoking studies covering hundreds of thousands of people, and found that even the oldest participants were less likely to die if they quit, the Los Angeles Times reports. Those over 60 who quit saw their risk of premature death fall 21%.
The numbers were similar for those in their 70s (27%) and even 80s (24%), though overall the statistics showed that, predictably, quitting earlier was better. "The hazardous effects of smoking persist even in oldest age," the authors conclude. In commentary published alongside the study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a doctor suggests printing the fact that 50% of smokers will die because of their habit on cigarette packs "so that all smokers know that they are betting their lives on the toss of a coin." (Read more cancer risk stories.)