Female smokers can live 10 years longer by quitting before they reach middle age, according to a new report.
Scientists found those who kicked the habit by the age of 30 avoided almost any risk of dying prematurely.
ITV News' Tom Barton reports:
The health minister, Anna Soubry MP, has said she hopes the finding that smokers who quit can add years to their lives will spur them into action.
She said that she managed to quit smoking in her fifties and she feels much healthier as a result.
Sarah Woolnough of Cancer Research UK tells ITV News about the results of a study that claims women smokers can earn themselves 10 years of extra life by quitting the habit before middle age.
More than a quarter of a million people pledged to stub out their last cigarette during the "Stoptober" anti-smoking campaign, the Government has announced.
The month-long NHS quit drive, which runs until the end of October, encourages smokers to kick the habit.
Research suggests that those who successfully give up for four weeks are five times more likely to stay smoke-free.
Health minister Anna Soubry said the £5.7 million campaign had "exceeded expectations".
Professor Sir Richard Peto, from Oxford University, who co-authored the study into smoking habits, said:
If women smoke like men, they die like men - but, whether they are men or women, smokers who stop before reaching middle age will on average gain about an extra 10 years of life.
Both in the UK and in the USA, women born around 1940 were the first generation in which many smoked substantial numbers of cigarettes throughout adult life. Hence, only in the 21st century could we observe directly the full effects of prolonged smoking, and of prolonged cessation, on premature mortality among women.
The research study into smoking habits also concluded that those smokers who kicked the habit around age 30 avoided 97% of their excess risk of premature death.
Women aged 50 to 65 were enrolled into the Million Women study, designed to investigate links between health and lifestyle, from 1996 to 2001.
Participants completed a questionnaire about living habits, medical and social factors and were re-surveyed three years later. Women were monitored for a total of 12 years on average, during which there were 66,000 deaths.
Women smokers can earn themselves 10 years of extra life by quitting the habit before middle age, say scientists.
A study of 1.3 million women found that smoking tripled the chances of dying over nine years compared with non-smokers.
Most of the increased death rate resulted from smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer, chronic lung disease, heart disease or stroke.
The risk rose steeply with the quantity of tobacco smoked, but even light smokers who puffed fewer than 10 cigarettes a day doubled their likelihood of dying.