Cardiologist welcomes 'powerful' report on heart-health risk to women smokers

A leading cardiologist has described as "powerful" a new US medical report that found smoking is 25% more likely to give women heart disease than men.

Scientists who combined the findings of 86 studies of four million people said smoke may have a more potent effect on females due to biological differences.

Dr Angie Brown from the Irish Heart Foundation said: "This alarming statistic is in keeping with other data but is very powerful because of the large numbers involved.

"We already know that a startling 80% of women who have heart attacks under the age of 40 are smokers, with smokers generally having twice the risk of heart attack than non smokers.

"We know that nicotine is metabolised differently in women than in men and it’s likely that some of the other 4,000 chemicals and carcinogens in tobacco smoke may be having a more potent effect on women due to biological differences."

However, she said it was never too late to quit, and that the health benefits of doing so are immediate.

"Just 20 minutes after you quit, your blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal," she said.

"Three days after quitting your breathing is easier and your energy levels increase. Within five years of quitting, your risk of heart attack falls to half that of a smoker and within 10 years you will have about the same risk as someone who never smoked.

"Remember stopping smoking is the single most important thing you can do to live longer and it’s never too late to quit.

Most Read in Ireland