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Female smokers 25 per cent more likely to develop heart disease

Published on 12/08/2011

Women who smoke are 25% more likely to develop heart disease than their male counterparts, a recent study has found.

In the UK, 21% of women and 22% of men smoke cigarettes, but due to biological differences between the sexes, toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke may have a more potent effect on the female body.

The findings were published on Thursday in The Lancet medical journal online. US researchers analysed data on around 4 million people from 86 studies, and found that despite women generally smoking fewer cigarettes a day than men, they appear to be substantially more at risk of getting heart disease.

Additionally, a woman’s extra risk increased by 2% for every additional year she had been smoking.*

Authors Dr Rachel Huxley, from the University of Minnesota, and Dr Mark Woodward, from Johns Hopkins University, of Maryland, wrote: "Women might extract a greater quantity of carcinogens and other toxic agents from the same number of cigarettes than men.

"This occurrence could explain why women who smoke have double the risk of lung cancer compared with their male counterparts.

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

"Biologically, women seem more susceptible to the dangers of smoking and passive smoking.”

The study comes after US researchers say that people who smoke soon after getting up in the morning are more likely to develop cancer than those who light up later in the day. Smoking in the first 30 minutes after waking nearly doubled the, already high, risk of lung cancer.

* Source: The Lancet journal
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  Health
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