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Sunday 16th June 2019

Heart risk higher in female smokers

11th August 2011

UK heart charities have described findings on women and smoking as alarming.


A review of more than 30 years of research has found that women who start smoking increase their risk of a heart attack by more than men who take up the habit.

The findings, published in the Lancet and from a study of 2.4 million people, found a 25% difference in increased risk, though the reasons for that remain unclear.

The team from the University of Minnesota showed women are at greater risk from smoking than men after analysing 75 sets of data produced by studies between 1966 and 2010.

The report showed that: “Women had a significant 25% increased risk for coronary heart disease conferred by cigarette smoking compared with men.”

Smoking was thought to double the risk of a heart attack for both men and women.

Ellen Mason, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said it was alarming to see such a large study confirm that women are so much more at risk of heart disease from smoking than men.

She added: “Despite women generally smoking fewer cigarettes a day than men, women appear to be substantially more at risk of getting heart disease.”

With women viewed as a growth market by tobacco companies in many countries, the National Heart Forum in the UK said that government plans for plain packaging of tobacco products were urgently needed to stop the cynical marketing that particularly targets young women.

Heart UK said smoking cessation policies and practice should take account of differences between the genders.


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