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New study finds smoking predicts increased stroke risk for your spouse
Date:7/28/2008

San Diego, July 29, 2008 Although Second Hand Smoke (SHS) is widely accepted as a risk factor for coronary heart disease, there have been few studies investigating the association of SHS and stroke risk. In a new study, published in the September 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers report on evidence of increased risk of stroke for spouses of smokers.

For those who never smoked, being married to a current smoker was associated with a 42% increase in risk of stroke compared to being married to a never-smoker. For former smokers, being married to a current smoker was associated with a 72% increase in risk compared to being married to a never-smoker. Being married to a former smoker was not associated with any increase in risk compared to being married to a never-smoker. This suggests that although stroke risk is elevated if your spouse smokes, that risk is eliminated if your spouse stops smoking. For example, never-smokers married to former smokers had nearly the same stroke risk as never-smokers married to never-smokers. Current smokers had significantly elevated stroke rates compared to never-smokers, and spousal smoking status did not affect this risk among current smokers.

The data were drawn from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a National Institute on Aging sponsored longitudinal survey of U.S. adults nationwide aged ≥50 years and their spouses. Enrollments occurred in 1992, 1993, 1998 and 2004 and final analyses included 16,225 respondents. Spousal smoking status was assessed at the time of enrollment and participants were followed an average of 9.1 years after enrollment for the incidence of stroke. All models were adjusted for age; race; Hispanic ethnicity; Southern birthstate; parental education; paternal occupation class; years of education; baseline income; baseline wealth; obesity; overweight; alcohol use; and diagnosed hypertension, diabetes or heart disease.

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