Smoking triples risk of death from heart disease and stroke: Study

Amanda Lyons

4/07/2019 1:16:54 PM

Smoking is killing 17 Australians a day from stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular conditions, according to a large-scale Australian study.

Older man smoking
‘Quitting at any age provides a whole host of health and other benefits and quitting by age 45 avoids about 90% of the cardiovascular risks of smoking,’ Director of Quit Victoria Dr Sarah White said.

‘A population almost twice the size of Port Douglas is being wiped out in Australia each year, with smoking causing more than 6400 cardiovascular deaths, including from heart attack and stroke.’
That is Professor Emily Banks from the ANU National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, lead author of the world-first study.
Published in BMC medicine, the study utilised health information from 188,167 cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer-free people who joined the Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study. They were monitored for up to 36 different types of CVD over seven years, making the study the first research to trace the effects of smoking on the entire cardiovascular system.
‘That includes investigating the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, heart muscle disease, rhythm problems, and gangrene in Australians from every walk of life: men, women, city, country, rich, poor,’ Professor Banks said.
‘We found there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Smoking causes terrible harm across the board.’
That harm includes around three times the risk for people who smoke dying from CVD compared to people who have never smoked, and double the risk of death from a heart attack, heart failure or stroke. People who smoke are also five times more likely to develop peripheral CVD diseases such as gangrene.
Ultimately, smoking was found to lead to 11,400 coronary heart hospitalisations per year – that’s a rate of 31 per day – and 17 deaths a day from heart attack, strokes and other conditions arising from CVD.
And for those who believe there is some sanctuary in ‘light smoking’ – that is, an average of five cigarettes a day – the research has further bad news, with a doubling in the risk of death from CVD among this population, a result researchers described as ‘extremely alarming’.
Dr Sarah White, Director of Quit Victoria, believes the study highlights the danger of underestimating the risks of even light smoking.
‘If you are a light or social smoker who thinks “just a few” won’t hurt, this study really shows you’re kidding yourself that it’s not doing damage,’ she said.
The study showed one very effective strategy for smokers to immediately improve their CVD health: quitting smoking, which markedly reduced risk of all types of CVD and CVD-related diseases compared to continuing to smoke.
‘Quitting at any age provides a whole host of health and other benefits and quitting by age 45 avoids about 90% of the cardiovascular risks of smoking,’ Dr White said.
‘No matter how much you smoke or how long you have smoked, the best time to stop is right now.’
Professor Banks was keen to make it clear that the link between CVD risk and smoking could not be overstated.
‘If a smoker has a heart attack or a stroke, it is more likely than not that it was caused by smoking,’ she said.

cardiovascular disease CVD smoking

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Antonio BATTAGLIA   5/07/2019 9:07:39 AM

Despite the " bla-bla-bla " amounts, tobacco may kill fruit-fly... HUMANS are affected by what they smoke and I mean : All the extra staffs and paper which change in level of toxicities during burning. Adding the quality of meal people normally used to have " full of fertilizants ", and the real situations related to the above article will appear by itself. I'm born into a family of natural tobacco sigars smokers ( no paper involved ), females and males and most passed away between 90 to 105 y. old. To note : WE ARE NOT SPECIAL PEOPLE, JUST TRYING TO EAT AND DRINK AS NATURAL AS POSSIBLE. THAT IS ALL ! ALSO...are there someone try to think about health damages those small roundabout cause to people living near? Vehicles do have to break, to steering, to accelerate within saying 60m of the street leaving a mix of toxic impurities, as: Bracke - Rubber - Exaust which winds will transports into houses for free !

Matt   6/07/2019 7:50:33 AM

So are you inferring that using a nicotine delivery method other than smoking will avoid CVD and its complications? What is it about the smoking that is doing the harm? Is it the impurities in the filter or paper or are you talking about nicotine which can be delivered without smoking?
Try to be more specific in your articles otherwise its just more trash / fakenews.

Dr Mark O'Donoghue   8/07/2019 5:14:38 PM

So you guys know more than a Professor of Epidemiology? Respect! Antonio is obviously a committed smoker of cigars and believes that cigars are harmless. Matt launches in about nicotine but nicotine is not mentioned once in the article. I assume that you guys are registered medical practitioners and as such should be well up to speed with the fact that nicotine is not a carcinogen and that tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, of which more than 70 are cancinogens. Cigar tobacco smoke gives off several tobacco-specific nitrosamines, some of the most potent cancer-causing substances known. Be also aware that you have an obligation to be evidence based in your discussions with patients.