Smoking increases the risk of heart attacks in young people

Researchers from Britain said that young smokers are eight times more likely to have a heart attack than their age non-smokers.

A British study showed that young adult smokers are eight times more likely to suffer a major heart attack than their peers who never smoked or who quit smoking. Lead researcher Dr Ever Grech, from the South Yorkshire Heart Center at Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, said many people underestimate the health risks associated with smoking.


“A lot of patients seem to be aware that there are some risks of heart attacks with smoking, but they don’t know that the risks are a little higher than usual,” Gretsch told Reuters Health. Gretsch and his colleagues write in the journal Heart that smoking has been linked to an increased chance of developing cardiovascular problems since the 1950s. Smokers suffer from heart attacks at a young age, but there has been no previous study that has investigated the incidence of heart attacks among young smokers in a local community setting.


For the new study, the researchers used information they collected from 2009 to 2012 on people over the age of 18 in South Yorkshire. Of these, 1,727 people were treated for major heart attacks caused by a blockage in one of the main heart arteries. Of these patients, 49 percent were smokers, about 27 percent had quit smoking, and about 24 percent were non-smokers.


Applying the results to the population of South Yorkshire, the researchers found that in a group of 100,000 people, 60 smokers under the age of 50 could have a heart attack each year, compared with a total of seven non-smokers and quitters in the same age group. “This data can be used to better inform people about the risks and to positively encourage and assist them,” Gretsch said.


In an editorial accompanying the new study, Dr. Yaron Arbel of the Tel Aviv Medical Center in Israel called on society to take a more active role in eliminating the smoking habit and treating it through medical, legislative, commercial and educational efforts. “Without all these efforts, we will not reduce the dangers associated with smoking,” he wrote.

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