August 15, 2008 - Younger women who smoke have more than double the risk of stroke compared to nonsmokers, with the heaviest smokers among them having nine times the risk, according to a study from the University of Maryland, School of Medicine.
Bhat VM, Cole JW, Sorkin JD, Wozniak MA, Malarcher AM, Giles WH, Stern BJ, Kittner SJ; Dose-Response Relationship Between Cigarette Smoking and Risk of Ischemic Stroke in Young Women; Stroke, August 14, 2008. Abstract
Cole and his colleagues interviewed 466 women who had had a stroke, and also 604 women who hadn't. All were between the ages of 15 and 49, and were either smokers, non-smokers or former smokers. Any smoking at all doubles the risk of stroke, the study found. The risk was 2.2 times greater for women smoking one to 10 cigarettes a day, 4.3 times greater for those smoking 21 to 39 cigarettes a day, and 9.1 times greater for those smoking two packs a day or more, compared to nonsmokers.
The study also demonstrated the benefit of quitting smoking. Stroke risk declined as early as 30 days after a woman gave up smoking and returned to normal in about two years.
Reference: Stroke Risk in Women Smokers Goes Up by Each Cigarette by Ed Edelson, HealthDay Reporter, 8/14/2008.