If you don’t want to live long and prosper, keep smoking.
That’s the conclusion of an Australian study published today in BMC Medicine.
In the report, researchers say two out of three smokers will eventually die from ailments related to their habit.
They also found smokers will die an average of 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.
The announcement comes a day after “Star Trek” actor Leonard Nimoy was reportedly hospitalized for chest pains. He announced last year that he has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diagnosed 30 years after he quit smoking.
The 83-year-old actor sent out several tweets urging people to give up smoking, saying he hadn’t quit soon enough.
“LLAP” is Nimoy’s slogan from his “Star Trek” days. It means, “live long and prosper.”
The Australian researchers say two-thirds of smokers will end up like Nimoy if they continue to puff on cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.
The scientists spent four years analyzing data from more than 200,000 people in the Australian state of New South Wales, a region that includes Sydney.
The participants, who were 45 years or older, were part of the Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study. Seven percent of the volunteers were current smokers and 34 percent were past smokers.
The participants had no history of cancer other than skin cancer. They also had no history of heart disease, stroke, or blood clots.
The Sax Institute research was conducted from 2006 to 2009 with follow-up questionnaires until mid-2012. Overall, 5,593 study participants died during that time.
Researchers said the mortality rate for smokers was significantly higher than for nonsmokers. Women had a slightly higher mortality rate than men.
The scientists added that the mortality rate also rose along with the amount of cigarettes smoked. People who smoked 25 or more cigarettes a day had a higher mortality rate than those who smoked fewer than 10 cigarettes a day.
Heavy smokers, researchers said, had a four-fold increase in mortality rate compared to people who never smoked.
The data also showed that people who quit smoking had a lower mortality rate than those who kept smoking. The longer people had abstained from cigarettes, the better their chances were of avoiding smoking-related diseases.
In fact, people who quit smoking before age 45 had a mortality rate similar to people who had never smoked. Nimoy, it seems, just missed that cut-off, swearing off of cigarettes in his early 50s.