Similar health risk levels among past smokers and never-smokers
Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of heart attack and death to levels of people who have never smoked, according to a new study.
This study is the first to examine the effect of quitting smoking on the presence and severity of coronary artery disease (CAD), which is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death in the U.S.
Researchers, who presented new findings at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2013 in Amsterdam, studied heart disease and associated risk data from more than 13,300 patients—current smokers, past smokers and never-smokers—in nine countries in Europe, North America and East Asia. Heart disease data was collected using a non-invasive scanning method that enables direct visualization of the coronary arteries.
Findings showed that while the amount of disease that smoking has already caused in the coronary arteries remains, the risk for heart attacks and death falls to that of non-smokers when smokers quit.
Researchers said that they have planned more studies to find out exactly why this is the case.