FRIDAY, Feb. 10, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- Young adults who quit smoking saw improvements in coughing and other respiratory symptoms within a few weeks, a new study indicates.
It included 327 college students aged 18 to 24 who took part in programs meant to motivate them to stop smoking. More than half the students smoked five to 10 cigarettes a day and had smoked for one to five years.
Participants who quit smoking for two weeks or more reported substantially fewer respiratory symptoms, especially coughing, than those who failed to kick the habit, according to the researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
The study recently appeared in the journal Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology.
"That the benefit of stopping smoking starts in days to weeks -- not years or decades -- is important. Now health care providers can counsel young smokers that their breathing can feel better soon after they stop. This can help to motivate young adults to stop smoking before the severe damage is done," journal editor Dr. Harold Farber, an associate professor of pediatrics in the pulmonology section at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said in a journal news release.
The American Cancer Society offers a guide to quitting smoking.