Smoke Alarm: Women Who Smoke Have 25% Greater Risk of CVD Than Men

When compared with men, women have a significant 25% increase in risk for coronary heart disease caused by cigarettes, according to a large meta-analysis published in theLancet.

Rachel Huxley and Mark Woodward analyzed data from 2.4 million participants in studies that adjusted for cardiovascular risk factors and found that the female-to-male relative risk ratio (RRR) of smoking compared to not smoking was 1.25 (CI 1.12-1.39, p<0.0001).For every additional year of followup the researchers found an additional 2% increase in the RRR for women (p=0.03).

The authors speculate that their analysis might have underestimated the true difference in relative risk between the sexes, since in many regions women have only started to smoke in large numbers in recent years. “It will be some years before the full effect of smoking on coronary heart disease risk is known in women,” they write. In addition, women smokers tend to consume fewer cigarettes than men and may be more likely to underreport their smoking habit.

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