Female smokers 'more likely to develop heart disease than men'

15 August 2011

Female smokers are 25 per cent more likely to develop coronary heart disease than men, according to research published in the Lancet.

In a study from the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, medical scientists concluded their results suggested toxins prevalent in cigarettes were strongly affecting certain physiological differences in women compared to men.

The results could have repercussions for medical practitioners already treating patients with heart problems, compounding the evidence of the beneficial effects of stopping smoking.

Compiling data from four million patients and 67,000 coronary heart disease events, researchers noticed the risk factor for women increased by two per cent compared to males for each additional year of smoking.

"Health professionals should be encouraged to increase their efforts at promotion of smoking cessation in all individuals," commented doctors Rachel Huxley and Mark Woodward.

They added that the paper made clear the "inclusion of a female perspective in tobacco-control policies is crucial".

However, in terms of wider cardiovascular disease, studies from Queen Mary, University of London have claimed that the higher presence of oestrogen in women could explain why such heart problems are lower for females compared to men and post-menopausal women.

Posted by Jeanette Royston


1 Huxley, Rachel R., Woodward, Mark, " 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". The Lancet, Early Online Publication. Thursday August 11th 2011.

2 Nadkarni, Suchita, et al., Activation of the Annexin A1 Pathway Underlies the Protective Effects Exerted by Estrogen in Polymorphonuclear Leukocytes." Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. Thursday August 11th 2011.


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