Q: I’m 73 years old. Will quitting smoking really make a difference in my health at this point?

A: In my patients who are smokers, one of the biggest obstacles to quitting is their belief that they’ve already damaged their body and quitting won’t reverse that damage.

I tell them that many careful studies have shown their thinking is wrong. In fact, your body has enormous recuperative powers, if you give it a chance, regardless of your age.

It is true that the sooner you quit smoking, the greater the benefit will be. But even if you’ve smoked a great deal for many years, quitting smoking will reduce your risk of the many diseases caused by smoking.

It will even lengthen your life.

If you’ve already developed heart disease – which, like lung cancer, is stimulated by smoking – you benefit greatly from quitting. You greatly reduce your risk of heart attacks and death from heart disease.

So talk to your doctor about quitting.

– Dr. Anthony L. Komaroff