(HealthDay News) – The excess risk of stroke associated with smoking is not significantly different for men and women, according to a meta-analysis published online Aug. 22 in Stroke.

Sanne A.E. Peters, PhD, from the University of Sydney, and colleagues conducted a literature review to identify prospective population-based cohort studies (published between Jan. 1, 1966, and Jan. 26, 2013) that presented sex-specific estimates of the relative risk of stroke comparing current smoking with nonsmoking. Eight-one prospective cohort studies, involving 3,980,359 individuals and 42,401 strokes were included in the analyses.

The researchers found that, in both sexes, smoking was an independent risk factor for stroke. The relative risk ratio (RRR) indicated a similar risk of stroke associated with smoking in women and men (RRR, 1.06; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.99–1.13) in pooled multiple-adjusted analysis. In regional analysis, the effect of smoking was more harmful in women than men in Western populations (RRR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.02–1.18), but not in Asian populations (RRR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.87–1.09). For former smokers, quitting smoking was associated with a beneficial effect, which was similar between the sexes (RRR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.99–1.22).

“Cigarette smoking is a major and modifiable risk factor for stroke, where it confers a similar hazard in women as in men,” the authors write. “Similarly, the benefits of smoking cessation on future risk of stroke are the same in both sexes.”

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)