A large study conducted over three decades studied the health of 101,000 US female nurses and has produced shocking results for smokers. The research revealed that light to moderate female smokers, (those who smoke between one and 14 cigarettes a day), are twice as likely to suffer from sudden death. Sudden death occurs when the heart stops working for unforeseen reasons. Within the study there were 315 cases of sudden death – 75 among current smokers, 148 among recent or past smokers and 128 in non-smokers.
Women aged 35 or younger who die from sudden death usually do so due to genetic heart conditions. For women older than this, (which most of the participants in the study were), this can be related to coronary heart disease – where arteries become blocked due to fatty deposits.
The study took into account other factors such as family history and high cholesterol, and still discovered that women who smoked were at a considerably higher risk of dying suddenly – even if they were only smoking a few cigarettes a day. The research also showed that for every five years of continued smoking, the risk goes up by 8%. Women who quit smoking saw their risk reduce to that of a non-smoker after 20 years of not smoking. The key lesson to take away here is that when it comes to quitting smoking, the sooner the better and even those who consider themselves ‘light’ or ‘social smokers’ can find themselves at risk.
Latest figures show that roughly a fifth of women in England currently smoke. With New Years coming up, many people will add ‘quit smoking’ to their lists of resolutions, and hopefully this study will add a much needed incentive.
If you are trying to quit smoking, a hypnotherapist may be able to help. For more information see our Addictions page.
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