Smoking and vaping: NHS shows difference between the two
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The research examined 100,000 smokers and non-smokers who were free of CVD at the start of the study. The impact on cardiovascular health was most pronounced among middle aged people. Middle aged women who smoked had nearly double the chance of suffering a fatal heart attack or stroke before showing any other signs of CVD.
The study’s lead author warned against smokers believing cancer to be the main health risk.
Dr Sadiya Khan cautioned: “There is often more awareness and concern about cancer as a result of smoking than heart disease.
“We found that fatal or non-fatal events related to cardiovascular disease are more likely to occur among people who smoke.
“People who smoke may not realize the harm cigarettes are causing their body until it’s too late,”
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The researchers believe all smokers would benefit from consulting with their physician about improving their cardiovascular health and quitting the habit.
This can involve transitioning to less harmful nicotine products such as patches and vapours.
Research is still ongoing into the long term effects of these substitute products.
The American Heart Association encourages the responsible use of substitute tobacco products in a way that does not addict new people.
Dr Khan said: “Smoking cessation is very challenging and reaching out to your doctor or other health care professionals for support and resources is important – the sooner the better.”
If you or someone you know wishes to quit smoking the NHS offers free services in many local areas using a variety of medical and counselling techniques.
Jennifer Percival who works in the NHS Stop Smoking Service says: “The majority of people who see an adviser will get through the first month after quitting without smoking a cigarette.
“Overall, you’re up to 4 times more likely to stop smoking for good if you use a combination of stop smoking treatment and receive support from an NHS Stop Smoking Service.”
Dr Esa Davis of the American Heart Association echoed the advice.
Heart attacks, strokes and other types of cardiovascular disease don’t always have early symptoms, so if you don’t know you have CVD, it can’t be treated.
“You can help prevent CVD by never smoking or stopping smoking as soon as possible.”
The American Heart Association announced in 2019 a $20 million research grant to drive research on ending nicotine addiction in teens.
The study did have limitations on the amount of data it could collect.
Participants were grouped into smokers and non-smokers, but the smoking group did not differentiate between different levels of cigarette consumption.
There were also participants whose smoking behaviour changed over the course of the study.
Despite this, Khan defends the findings as significant and compelling.
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