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Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
Date:5/15/2009

30-year study in Norway sheds light on 'tremendously adverse' effects of tobacco use

FRIDAY, May 15 (HealthDay News) -- Highlighting the negative impact tobacco use has on cardiovascular health, researchers say that heavy smokers were 2.5 times more likely to die than their non-smoking peers during a 30-year study in Norway.

The newly available research found that nonsmokers lived longer and experienced fewer incidents of heart attack and cardiovascular disease than smokers, especially when compared with heavy smokers (those who lit up at least 20 cigarettes a day).

Smokers were also at greater risk of developing diabetes and strokes than nonsmokers, according to the study findings, presented last week at the EuroPRevent 2009 conference in Stockholm, Sweden.

"What these results show is the cumulative long-term association between smoking and death and cardiovascular risk," investigator Haakon Meyer, a professor at the University of Oslo and Norwegian Institute of Public Health, said in a news release issued by the European Society of Cardiology. "Around two-thirds of the middle-aged heavy-smoking men and half the heavy-smoking women had died or had a cardiovascular disease within the next 30 years. The incidence was much lower in never-smokers and reflects the tremendously adverse effect of smoking on health and longevity. The difference in outcome between the never-smokers and heavy smokers was substantial."

The study began in 1974 with 54,075 middle-aged Norwegian men and women agreeing to take part in a basic cardiovascular examination. By matching the participants to population records over the next three decades, the researchers recorded 13,103 deaths, then followed-up on the living participants with a questionnaire during the mid-2000s.

The team found that 45 percent of males considered to be heavy smokers had died during the study period compared with 18 percent of the men who never smo
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