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Why does the risk of cancer diminish rapidly after one quits the cigarette smoking habit?

Quitting smoking can have an almost immediate, positive effect on your health.

Quitting smoking decreases the risk of cancer and is always a healthy decision. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
Quitting smoking decreases the risk of cancer and is always a healthy decision.

Exposure of a premalignant cell to a "promoter" (an agent that can change its state)  converts the cell to an irreversibly malignant state. Promotion is a slow process, and exposure to the promoter must be sustained for a certain period of time.

This requirement explains why the risk of cancer diminishes rapidly after one quits smoking; both cancer initiators and promoters appear to be contained in tobacco smoke.

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