MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 12 (UPI) — Women who smoke have a higher risk of developing heart disease than men, an international study published in a British medical journal says.
The study, using data collected on more than 2 million people, found smoking increased the risk of heart disease for women 1.25 times over that for men and the risk was greater the longer the women smoked, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News reported Friday.
The increased risk suggests physiological differences between men and women may be a factor, but more study is needed, researchers Rachel Huxley from the University of Minnesota and Mark Woodward from Johns Hopkins University said.
“Whether mechanisms underlying the sex difference in risk of coronary heart disease are biological or related to differences in smoking behavior between men and women is unclear,” the study’s authors concluded.
In most countries smoking rates are higher for men than for women, but more men than women are quitting, health advocates said.
“What makes the realization that women are at increased risk worrisome is that the tobacco industry views women as its growth market,” said Carolyn Dresler of the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program at the Arkansas Department of Health.