Smoking cessation is crucial in preventing premature morbidity, disability and mortality worldwide. The effectiveness of quitting tobacco use surpasses any other intervention to minimise the risk for chronic cardiac and respiratory conditions. The overall health benefits of smoking cessation have been recognised for decades but as tobacco legislation has been changing in recent years, new evidence particularly concerning the effect of less smoke exposure on the vascular system has emerged. Recently, much research in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has concerned the ongoing inflammation - also in former smokers - and disease heterogeneity, which provides new knowledge regarding current and ex-smokers with COPD. Many other cardiovascular and respiratory diseases are associated with smoking, and the course of these diseases is not always studied in the context of smoking cessation versus continued smoking. This review summarises the latest available data on health benefits of smoking cessation with focus on both common and infrequent cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.