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Age When Starting to Smoke Linked to Risk for CVD Mortality

Current smokers who began smoking before age 15 years have rate ratio of 3.20 for cardiovascular mortality

a person lighting up the cigarette

THURSDAY, Oct. 29, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Current smokers, especially those who start smoking young, have an increased risk for cardiovascular mortality, according to a research letter published online Oct. 28 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Blake Thomson, D.Phil., from The George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the relevance of the age when smoking began to cardiovascular adult mortality using data from the annual U.S. National Health Interview Surveys. Data were included for 390,929 participants aged 25 to 74 years.

The researchers found that 2 and 19 percent of current smokers had begun before age 10 years and at ages 10 to 14 years, respectively. A total of 4,479 participants died of cardiovascular disease before age 75 years during 3.5 million person-years of follow-up. Compared with never smokers (rate ratio, 1.00 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.95 to 1.06]), current smokers who began smoking in childhood (age <15 years) versus later (age ≥15 years) had rate ratios of 3.20 (2.90 to 3.52) and 2.69 (2.54 to 2.85), respectively, for cardiovascular mortality. The rate ratios were 0.91 (0.81 to 1.02), 1.19 (1.06 to 1.33), 1.58 (1.42 to 1.76), and 1.69 (1.47 to 1.93) in association with smoking cessation at ages 15 to 34, 35 to 44, 45 to 54, and 55 to 64 years, respectively, compared with 2.80 (2.66 to 2.96) in current smokers and 1.00 (0.95 to 1.06) in never smokers.

"Age at starting to smoke is an important, but underappreciated, determinant of adult cardiovascular mortality," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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