Smoking less 'won't prevent risk', Scots researchers find
Smokers who cut down rather than quit are unlikely to extend their lifespan, according to new research.
The study was carried out by both Glasgow and Stirling Universities over four decades.
The results of the study show smoking less would not reduce a person's risk of early death.
The findings were compiled looking at mortality rates over the duration of the investigation.
About 5,200 people from central Scotland were recruited for two smoking studies in the early 1970s.
They were questioned several years later about whether they quit, reduced, maintained or increased their smoking.
A record was then kept of those who died between the 1970s and 2010.
Figures showed that people who quit smoking had lower mortality rates compared with those who carried on.
But there was no significant difference found between those who reduced their intake and those who did not.
Prof Linda Bauld, one of the report's authors from Stirling University, said: "Our results support the view that reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke is not a reliable way of improving your health in the long term.
"However, what we do now know is that it may have a valuable role as a step toward giving up altogether, through cutting down to quit, an approach that has been recommended in recent guidance in the UK."
The findings differ from those of a similar long-term study in Israel, which found that cutting back appeared to reduce mortality rates.
However, the results fit with larger studies of shorter duration in Denmark and Norway.