Smoking Doubles Women's Risk of Sudden Death

It is no longer disputed that smoking cigarettes is hazardous to your health, but some of the dangers of smoking are still being discovered. A new study found that smoking cigarettes may more than double a woman's risk of sudden cardia death, but quitting can significantly reduce that risk over time.

Sudden cardiac death, as the name implies, is sudden, unexpected death caused by a loss of heart function. It is currently the leading cause of heart-related deaths in the U.S., and is responsible for up to 400,000 deaths each year.

Researchers found that women who were current smokers were two-and-a-half times more likely to suffer sudden cardiac death than were non-smokers. The risk of sudden cardiac death was found to be even higher among heavy and lifelong smokers.

Roopinder Sandhu, M.D., MPH, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Alberta in Alberta, Canada, said:

“We found the more that you smoke, the higher the risk of sudden cardiac death. But the important thing is that this risk can be eliminated after smoking cessation.”

According to the study, quitting smoking has almost an immediate effect in reducing the risk of sudden cardiac death within five years among women who do not have any symptoms of heart disease. For women already diagnosed with heart disease, the benefits of quitting smoking took significantly longer to take effect.