Study Finds ‘Disturbing’ Evidence How Smoking Kills People

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death. It has been widely linked to lung damage and diseases but a new study suggests cigarettes can also harm all parts of the cardiovascular system, from the heart to its blood vessels.

Researchers led by the Australian National University (ANU) said that smokers are three times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease compared to non-smokers. Direct exposure to cigarette smoke could also double the risk of having a heart attack, heart failure or stroke.

The increased risk was common among people who smoke an average of five cigarettes a day. 

"We found there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide,” Emily Banks, lead researcher and professor at the ANU National Center for Epidemiology and Population Health, said in a statement. “Smoking causes terrible harm across the board.”

The study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, is the most in-depth in the world to explore how smoking harms the cardiovascular system, the researchers said. 

The findings come from the analysis of the health of nearly 190,000 smokers and non-smokers in Australia. The researchers aimed to see how smoking contributes to 36 different types of cardiovascular disease.

Following the participants for more than seven years, the team recorded link between smoking and an average of 11,400 coronary heart hospitalizations every year. Researchers said up to 17 Australians die daily because of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular conditions triggered by smoking. 

"This new evidence is disturbing,” John Kelly, CEO of the National Heart Foundation of Australia, said. “It demonstrates that our battle to eliminate the devastation tobacco brings to people's lives is far from over.”

To date, there are an estimated 2.7 million smokers in Australia. Kelly said the government should consider tobacco control as a top priority and include it in the country’s new Prevention Strategy.

The study states that people can reverse the increased risk of cardiovascular disease by quitting.

Sarah White, director of non-profit Quit Victoria, said that quitting at any age provides a number of health benefits. The people who stop smoking at age 45 can still reduce cigarette-linked cardiovascular risks by 90 percent.

smoking cigarette Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death, which could harm both the lung and the cardiovascular system. Pixabay