That finding comes from the Lung Health Study, which followed more than 5,300 middle-aged smokers for five years. The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. It appears in the June 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
All the people in the study had mild or moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The study found that in the first year after quitting smoking, lung function in women improved more than twice than that of men.
That gender difference in improved lung function among those who quit smoking did narrow over time, but the women still had the edge over men throughout the study. Men and women who continued to smoke throughout the study had, on average, similar declines in lung function.
Cigarettes are a leading cause of COPD. It's a progressive lung disease that results in gradual loss of lung function. COPD is the fourth most common, and most rapidly increasing, cause of death in the United States.
Emphysema, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive bronchitis, or a combination of emphysema and chronic bronchitis are all forms of COPD.
Here's where you can learn more about COPD.