(HealthDay News) – For former light smokers who quit ≤15 years ago, the risks of incident heart failure or cardiovascular mortality are not significantly increased, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s 2013 Scientific Sessions, held from Nov. 16–19 in Dallas.

Amiya A. Ahmed, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues examined the risk of incident heart failure and mortality in a cohort of 3,410 community-dwelling adults, including 2,557 never smokers and 853 former smokers who quit ≤15 years ago (median, eight years). Previous research indicates that it may take up to 15 years of abstinence to reach cardiovascular death risks of never smokers.

During 13 years of follow-up, the researchers found that after adjustment for age and sex, the hazard ratio (HR) for incident heart failure was not significantly different for former light smokers vs. never smokers (HR, 1.04; P=0.782). For former heavy smokers (≥32 pack-years of smoking), the adjusted hazard ratio for incident heart failure was significantly increased compared with never smokers (HR, 1.29; P=0.019). Similar results were seen for cardiovascular mortality (adjusted HR for light smokers, 1.07; P=0.678; adjusted HR for former heavy smokers, 1.81; P<0.001).

“It’s good news,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Now there’s a chance for even less of a waiting period to get a cleaner bill of cardiovascular health.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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