Study Examines Light Smoking Impact on Heart Disease, Stroke Risk

Men who smoked just one cigarette/day had 46% of excess relative risk of smoking 20/day
Men who smoked just one cigarette/day had 46% of excess relative risk of smoking 20/day

HealthDay News — Smoking one cigarette per day is still associated with a significant increased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, according to research published online January 24 in The BMJ.

Allan Hackshaw, PhD, from Cancer Research UK in London, and colleagues quantified the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke associated with light smoking. The relative risks were pooled in a meta-analysis; 55 publications with 141 cohort studies were included in the meta-analysis. 

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The researchers found that the pooled relative risk for coronary heart disease was 1.48 and 2.04, respectively, for smoking 1 and 20 cigarettes per day for men, using all studies, and 1.74 and 2.27, respectively, in studies in which the relative risk was adjusted for multiple confounding variables. For women, the corresponding relative risks were 1.57 and 2.84 for one and 20 cigarettes per day, and 2.19 and 3.95, respectively, after multivariable adjustment. Men and women who smoked one cigarette per day had 46 and 31%, respectively, of the excess relative risk of smoking 20 cigarettes per day (53 and 38%, respectively, using relative risks adjusted for multiple variables). For stroke, the excess risk associated with 1 versus 20 cigarettes per day was 41 and 34% for men and women, respectively (64 and 36%, respectively, using relative risks adjusted for multiple variables).

"Smoking only about one cigarette per day carries a risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke much greater than expected," the authors write.

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