Just one cigarette a day doubles the risk of sudden death in women
12th December 2012
Previously it was thought that heavy smokers are most at risk from such health problems as heart disease, cancer, etc. However, a new study has emerged showing that women who smoke just a single cigarette each day and believe they are avoiding such dangers, are still at massive risk. Researchers from the University of Alberta, Canada, tracked 101,018 women over a period of thirty years, examining the effects of both cigarette smoking and smoking cessation. In particularly, researchers were curious how many instances of sudden cardiac death (SCD) there would be. All study participants were between 30 to 55 years old and on average it was found that those who smoked, began in their later teenager years. SCD is a where a sudden expected non-violent/non-traumatic death happens as a result of the loss of heart function. This is usually due to fatty deposits blocking arteries in the heart within older people, and in younger people under 35 years old, it is more than likely because of an inherited condition running in their family. The incidence of sudden cardiac death is approximately 1 in 1,000 per year, more common in males than females which make the findings of the Canadian study all the more intriguing. The risk of heart problems was found to be double for women smoking just one cigarette each day compared to those who do not smoke, and the risk is a lot higher for long term smokers. The dangers are even greater than first thought and provide even more evidence that smokers should try and quit cigarettes altogether instead of limiting them to one or two a day, believing this to be healthier. Clearly even one cigarette is one too many, although the researchers do point out that the risk can be reversed and maybe eliminated within half a decade if women manage to stop smoking. Roopinder K. Sandhu, M.D., M.P.H., the study's lead author and a cardiac electrophysiologist at the University of Alberta's Mazankowski Heart Institute in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, says: “Cigarette smoking is a known risk factor for sudden cardiac death, but until now, we didn't know how the quantity and duration of smoking effected the risk among apparently healthy women, nor did we have long-term follow-up.” During their three-decade long study, there were 351 occurrences of SCD according to the report in Circulation: Arrhythmia & Electrophysiology, an American Heart Association journal. Proving just how damaging cigarettes are to the human body, it was discovered that Women with no previous history of cancer, heart disease, or stroke and who smoked were at two and a half times the risk of sudden cardiac death in comparison to healthy non-smoking women. For each additional five years of smoking, the risk shot-up by 8%. There was some positive findings however. Researchers ascertained that if women with heart disease decide to quit smoking, they will see their risk of sudden cardiac death falling to levels of a non-smoker after a period of 15 to 20 years of kicking the habit. Upon viewing the alarming findings from the study, Ellen Mason, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), commented: “This study shows that smoking just a couple of cigarettes a day could still seriously affect your future health. As we approach the New Year, many of us will be making resolutions and giving up smoking will be top of the list for lots of people. If you’re thinking of quitting and need a nudge, this research adds to the wealth of evidence that stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your heart health.” Quitting smoking should be something considered all year-round though and not just as a New Year’s resolution, that often people will give-up on.  If this study alone will not persuade you to quit, perhaps many of the other countless serious health risks could tempt you to finally stop. If you require a little extra help, why not try effective smoking cessation medication from Medical Specialists Pharmacy. Champix is a prescription medication that works out from as little as just £75.00 per pack, an incredibly small price when it comes to your long-term health. Champix mimics the effect of nicotine on the body, reducing the urge to smoke and relieving withdrawal symptoms. It can also decrease the enjoyment you experience of smoking if you are still smoking whilst on the treatment. In fact, many people argue than Champix is much better than nicotine patches at helping you to stop smoking.