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Telling smokers 'lung age' improves quit rate
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A British study found that telling smokers how "old" their lungs are can help them better understand how smoking damages health and make them more likely to quit the habit, according to media reports Friday.

"Telling smokers their lung age significantly improves the likelihood of them quitting smoking," said researcher Gary Parkes, a family physician in Hertfordshire outside London.

Lung age is measured by comparing a smoker's lungs to the age of a healthy person whose lungs function the same.

The study data was collected from the cases of 561 long-term smokers older than 35 in five general medical practices outside London.

The subjects were divided into two groups and everyone was strongly encouraged to quit and offered help to do so. But only one group were given their lung age, shown a diagram of how smoking ages the lungs and told that quitting would slow the rate of damage.

The results showed that 13 percent of the smokers told their lung age had quit while only 6 percent of people in the other group had stopped one year later.

"The reason may be people had dreaded the worst and realized it was still worthwhile giving up," Parkes said.

Telling people detail information about their lung damages could be a cheap and easy way to get people to stop smoking and reduce smoking-related health problem, Parkes said.

"The cost, if you like, is certainly within the economic framework of a good deal."

(Xinhua/Agencies March 7, 2008)

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