Many Smokers Stick With Habit After Heart Attack

European study shows one in five don't quit, despite risks

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WEDNESDAY, Oct. 5, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- A new Dutch study finds that one in five smokers treated for heart attack, unstable angina, angioplasty or bypass surgery continued to smoke after their first coronary event, while 48 percent did quit smoking.

Study author and epidemiologist Dr. Wilma Scholte op Reimer, of Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, said it was "unbelievable" that so many heart patients continued to smoke after a life-threatening coronary event, especially since smoking is a major risk factor.

"It makes me wonder if they are truly aware of the risk that they are taking," she said in a prepared statement.

She and her colleagues surveyed more than 5,500 coronary patients in 47 hospitals spread across 15 European countries. The patients were interviewed about 16 months after their coronary event. The survey revealed that 21 percent of the patients remained persistent smokers, while 48 percent had quit.

"We found that younger patients were less likely to quit -- only 41 percent of under-50s --and that those with angina were less likely to quite than those who had suffered a heart attack (38 percent vs. 52 percent)," Scholte op Reimer said.

More information

The U.S. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has more about the health effects of smoking.

SOURCE: European Society of Cardiology, news release, Oct. 5, 2005

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