Young Smokers At More Than 8-Fold Risk Of Heart Attack

  • Young Smokers At More Than 8-Fold Risk Of Heart Attack

Young Smokers At More Than 8-Fold Risk Of Heart Attack

All smokers face a markedly higher danger of heart attacks than non-smokers, but it had not been clear how the risk compared between age brackets.

Folan said the findings "highlight the need for more intense treatment of younger smokers, as well as preventive measures targeting adolescents and young adults".

Overall, the data analysis showed that smokers were more than three times as likely to have their heart muscle die than ex- and non-smokers combined.

"Through comprehensive tobacco-control programs that include environmental smoking bans, high taxes on cigarettes, and anti-tobacco media campaigns, we can decrease the rates of smoking/tobacco use, heart disease and many other health conditions", said Patricia Folan.

Smokers, overall, had a more than three-fold greater risk of suffering a STEMI as ex-smokers and never smokers, but the risk was 8.5 times higher among smokers younger than age 50 when compared to ex-smokers and never smokers in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

The researchers analyzed data on adult patients in South Yorkshire who had undergone PCI for acute STEMI at the South Yorkshire Cardiothoracic Center between January 1, 2009, and April 6, 2012. Smokers between 50 and 65 had a 5.2-fold increased risk of STEMI, while smokers who were 65 or older had a 3.1-fold increased risk of STEMI.

The incidence of STEMI in smokers was 59.7 per 100,000 patients years among those younger than 50 years old; 316.9 per 100,000 patients years among those between 50 and 65 years old; and 331.0 per 100,000 patients years among those who were 65 or older.

Nearly half of the 1,727 patients (48.5 per cent) were current smokers, with roughly a quarter (just over 27 per cent) former smokers, and a quarter (just over 24 per cent) non-smokers.

"This study may also help to tackle the misconception by young smokers that acute STEMI is a disease of the elderly, by showing that this group is very vulnerable and has the highest risk from their smoking".

Smoking may therefore be the most important risk factor, they suggest, adding that other research shows that the fatty deposits furring up the arteries of smokers differ from those of non-smokers and seem to be more vulnerable to rupture.

Smoking is perhaps the most powerful of all risk factors, "whose effect is much earlier than any other", note the experts.

"All current smokers must be encouraged into smoking cessation therapy to reduce their risk of acute STEMI, with a focus on the youngest smokers whose increased risk is often unrecognised", they say.

Many people underestimate the health risks that come with smoking, said senior author Dr. "It is recognized that the youngest populations tend to demonstrate fewer risk factors such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia or diabetes and this has been demonstrated in young STEMI patients who smoke".

"However, exact numbers have a tendency to hit home more often". Therefore, efforts should concentrate on prevention, not treatment.