Exercise Will Help You Quit Smoking

Illustration for article titled Exercise Will Help You Quit Smoking

If you're trying to stop smoking, get down to the gym. A new study has shown that people who exercise are 55 per cent more likely to quit—and 43 per cent less likely to relapse into smoking, too.


The study, carried out in Taiwan, examined healthcare data from 434,190 people in order to reach the finding. The study also showed that, for those smokers who didn't quit, exercising increased life expectancy by 3.7 years. Those that exercised and did manage to quit saw an increase in life expectancy of 5.6 years. The results were presented at this week's World Congress of Cardiology. Dr. C.P. Wen, one of the researchers, explains:

"Exercise can help smokers to quit and quitting smoking has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of developing CVD and that must be the goal of all smokers. If smokers can continue to exercise, not only they can increase the quit rate, but also they can reduce their mortality for all cause and for CVD in the long run."

If you're wondering how much exercise you need to improve your chances of quitting, the answer is 30 minutes per day. That sounds like a pretty good deal for 5.6 extra years of life. [EurekAlert]

Image by Nenetus/Shutterstock



Correlation != causation.

The people who exercised were probably a) more health conscious and b) had more willpower. For example, taking a vitamin pill everyday doesn't make you healthier, but people who take vitamin pills everyday tend to live longer (because of confounding variables).

Same is probably true for the people who exercised more and didn't quit smoking.

The only way actually to test this would be to take a bunch of people, randomly assign them to an exercise or no-exercise group, and check for relevant outcomes. That's tough to do, but something cross-sectional like this is almost worthless for what the article is claiming.