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Smoking risk to women

Thursday August 11th, 2011

Women may be a great deal more susceptible to the risks of smoking than men, researchers warned today.

Female smokers face a 25 per cent greater risk of developing heart disease than men, according to a major analysis reported in The Lancet.

The finding comes at a time when the number of women smoking is now nearly the same as the number of men - just over one in five in the UK.

US researchers analysed some 86 pieces of research involving about four million people - and 67,000 heart illnesses.

And the gap widens the longer a woman smokes, the researchers say.

Ellen Mason, of the British Heart Foundation, said the findings were "alarming".

She said: "Despite women generally smoking fewer cigarettes a day than men, women appear to be substantially more at risk of getting heart disease. Biologically women seem more susceptible to the dangers of smoking and passive smoking.

"This is very timely research as tobacco companies are increasingly targeting women with slim brands and slick packaging. Introducing plain packaging would help to increase the effectiveness of health warnings and reduce the attractiveness and appeal of tobacco products."

Cigarette smoking as a risk factor for coronary heart disease in women compared with men: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Rachel R Huxley et al The Lancet August 11 2011, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60781-2

Tags: Drug and Alcohol Abuse | Heart Health | North America | UK News | Women’s Health & Gynaecology

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