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Quitting smoking can reverse lung damages
Quitting smoking not only stops damages to the lungs, but also “magically” reverses the damages. A recent study discovered that lung cells damaged by smoking can be replaced by healthy cells after the smoker quits smoking, reducing the risks of lung cancer.

Smoking is the major cause of lung cancer. Carcinogens in tobacco smoke triggers DNA damages which can lead to mutation and eventually cancers. Researchers from the United Kingdom studied the lung cells from 16 people, including adults who were current smokers, former smokers or never smokers, and children. The research found that about 9 out of 10 lung cells in current smokers had up to 10,000 more mutations than in non-smokers, and only 4% to 10% of the cells are healthy. Interestingly, up to 40% of the lung cells in former smokers were healthy and similar to those in never smokers. The healthy cells, which had escaped from the damage by tobacco smoke, might grow and replace the damaged cells when smokers quitted smoking, lowering the risks of lung cancer. This was observed even in people who had quitted for just a few years but had smoked for 40 years and more than 15,000 packs of cigarettes before quitting. The findings suggest that quitting is beneficial at any age and it is never too late to quit.

COSH encourages smokers to quit as early as possible and organizes the “Quit to Win” Smoke-free Community Campaign every year to motivate them to take the first step to quit and enjoy the smoke-free healthy life. The Integrated Smoking Cessation Hotline 1833183 operated by the Department of Health offers cessation information, access to different cessation services and cessation counselling services. Smokers are encouraged to seek cessation services when difficulties arise during quitting.

Source: The Wellcome Sanger Institute
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