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Secondhand Smoke Raises Stroke Risk for Spouses
Date:7/29/2008

But researchers note risk dissipates quickly once smoking spouse quits

TUESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- Nonsmokers who are married to smokers run a significantly higher risk for experiencing a stroke, a new study suggests.

Researchers also found that ex-smokers married to men and women who still smoke carry an even greater risk for stroke. However, nonsmoking spouses of former smokers do not appear to bear any higher risk for stroke than those married to someone who had never smoked.

"This adds to the growing evidence that secondhand smoke is bad for you, and I hope that it will help people who want to stop smoking to know that it will probably be good for their spouse's health, too," said Maria Glymour, an assistant professor of society, human development and health at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. Glymour is also a health and society scholar in the department of epidemiology at Columbia University in New York City.

She and her team were expected to publish the findings in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Glymour pointed out that hers is one of the few studies to specifically focus on the potential link between secondhand smoke and stroke risk. She further noted that indications that the association is real and strong stem from a larger National Institute on Aging research effort that tracked a wide range of social factors and their relationship to stroke risk.

In that study, all 16,000-plus participants were 50 and older and married. All were categorized according to smoking habits, and observed for stroke incidence over an average of about nine years between 1992 and 2006.

Nonsmokers married to a current smoker were found to have a 42 percent increased risk for stroke, compared with those married to spouses who had never smoked. Similarly compared, ex-smokers married to a current smoker had a 72 percent increased risk fo
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