Heart Disease Risk Greater for Female Smokers

A woman smokes a cigarette in Arlington, Virginia on June 12, 2009. (UPI Photo/Alexis C. Glenn)

Smoking is significantly more likely to give women heart disease than men, a new study has found. According to the Guardian, the U.S. study found that after adjusting for other risk factors, women who smoked were 25 percent more like to develop smoking-related heart disease than men.

Scientists believe this difference is due to biological differences between men and women. Toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke likely have a more potent influence on female smokers, study authors Rachel Huxley of the University of Minnesota and Mark Woodward of John Hopkins University said.

For their research, the team pooled data on 4 million people from 86 different studies. While analyzing the outcomes, they found that the longer a woman smoked, the greater her risk for heart disease was compared with that of a man who had smoked for the same length of time. The extra risk increased exponentially—two percent for every additional year spent smoking.

Now, Huxley and Woodward want their findings to influence the way healthcare and tobacco-control policies address women.

“Physicians and health professionals should be encouraged to increase their efforts at promotion of smoking cessation in all individuals,” they wrote. “Present trends in female smoking, and this report, suggest that inclusion of a female perspective in tobacco-control policies is crucial.”

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