'Not smoking at all is better than quitting'

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An expert at a specialist cancer hospital has warned of a possible confusing message for patients, following a study in the Lancet which suggests the risk of dying early from smoking-related diseases can be reduced by quitting at a younger age.

Dr Peter Mackereth, clinical lead for smoking cessation for The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, said young women exposed to smoke in their teenage years were still at a greater risk of developing breast cancer.

He added that other non-mortality factors were linked to smoking, such as asthma, anxiety and depression, as well as problems with skin, fertility and child bearing.

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