Smokers 7 times more likely to get cancer

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A recent study by the National University of Singapore (NUS) showed that smokers are seven times more likely than non-smokers to get lung cancer.

After tracking 45,900 ChineseĀ in SingaporeĀ from 1993 to 2007, the study also found that six years is all it takes to dramatically cut a smoker's risk of getting the disease, local daily The Straits Times reported on Thursday.

Six years after quitting, an ex-smoker's chance of getting cancer is 28 percent less than someone who is still smoking.

Those who continue to stay off cigarettes have their risk of getting lung cancer halved. In other words, for every two smokers who get cancer, only one non-smoker would.

The study is part of the long-term Singapore Chinese Health study launched in 1993 by the NUS and funded by the National Institutes of Health of the United States. It is still ongoing.

The Singapore Chinese study started with more than 63,000 people. At the time of recruitment, they were between 45 and 65 of age and lived in public housing flats.

Participants are tracked on their diet and lifestyle. Some have since died, emigrated or are no longer part of the study for other reasons. The participants are being tracked for several ailments, the majority linked to cancer.

About 75 percent of those studied for the lung cancer project or 33,292 peoplehad never smoked. These non-smokers accounted for only 25.5 percent of the 463 people in the group of 45,900 who got lung cancer by 2007.

Some 1,000 people here die from lung cancer each year.

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