People who smoke and are susceptible to smoking, have a much faster decline in lung function than non smokers. In addition, the rate of decline in lung function accelerates with worsening disease, and those smokers who quit smoking decelerate that decline to mirror a steady, age-related decline in lung function. This was mapped on the Fletcher-Peto curve (below).
One of the most motivating things we can discuss with our patients is the health benefits of quitting smoking; quitting is the best thing they can do for their current and future health. The most challenging group of smokers to motivate are young individuals; they don’t perceive an immediate threat to their life. However, the earlier the smoker stops the better; quitting at age 35 adds an average of 10 years of life, while quitting at 65 adds 3 years of life.