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The more you smoke, the greater your risk of a heart rhythm disorder

European Society of Cardiology

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-07/esoc-tmy071118.php

The more you smoke, the greater your risk of a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation. That’s the finding of a study published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a European Society of Cardiology (ESC) journal.(1)

The study found a 14% increase in the risk of atrial fibrillation for every ten cigarettes smoked per day. There was a linear dose-response relationship, meaning that the risk increased with each additional cigarette smoked.

Compared to people who had never smoked, current smokers had a 32% increased risk of atrial fibrillation, while ever smokers (current and former smokers combined) had a 21% increased risk, and former smokers had a 9% increased risk – providing further evidence of a dose-response relationship.

“If you smoke, stop smoking and if you don’t smoke, don’t start,” said study author Dr Dagfinn Aune, postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College London, UK, and associate professor at Bjørknes University College in Oslo, Norway. “We found that smokers are at increased risk of atrial fibrillation, but the risk is reduced considerably in those who quit.”

Smoking is a lethal addictive disorder.(2) A lifetime smoker has a 50% probability of dying due to smoking, and on average will lose ten years of life. Slightly less than half of lifetime smokers will continue smoking until death. The rate of smoking is declining in Europe, but it is still very common and is increasing in women, adolescents and the socially disadvantaged.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder (arrhythmia). It causes 20-30% of all strokes and increases the risk of dying prematurely.(3) One in four middle-aged adults in Europe and the US will develop atrial fibrillation. It is estimated that by 2030 there will be 14-17 million patients with atrial fibrillation in the European Union, with 120,000-215,000 new diagnoses each year.

Few studies have assessed whether there is a dose-response relationship between the number of cigarettes smoked and the risk of atrial fibrillation. The authors of the current study investigated this issue by conducting a meta-analysis of 29 prospective studies from Europe, North America, Australia and Japan with a total of 39,282 incident cases of atrial fibrillation among 677,785 participants.

Compared to zero cigarettes per day, smoking five, ten, 15, 20, 25 and 29 cigarettes per day was associated with a 9%, 17%, 25%, 32%, 39%, and 45% increased risk of atrial fibrillation, respectively.

Every ten pack-years of smoking was associated with a 16% increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation. Pack-years are calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years the person has smoked.

European guidelines on the prevention of cardiovascular disease recommend avoiding tobacco in any form.2 All types of smoked tobacco, including low-tar (“mild” or “light”) cigarettes, filtered cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and water pipes are harmful.

Dr Aune said: “Our results provide further evidence of the health benefits of quitting smoking and, even better, to never start smoking in the first place. This is important from a public health perspective to prevent atrial fibrillation and many other chronic diseases.”

Dr Aune noted that more research is needed to identify the duration of smoking cessation needed to reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation, and whether the risk at some point reaches that of people who have never smoked.

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Authors: ESC Press Office
Tel: +33 (0)4 8987 2499
Mobile: +336 (0) 2314 5784
Email: press@escardio.org

SOURCES OF FUNDING: See the paper for a list of funding sources.

DISCLOSURES: None.

References

(1) Aune D, Schlesinger S, Norat T, Riboli E. Tobacco smoking and the risk of atrial fibrillation: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. 2018. DOI: 10.1177/2047487318780435.
(2) Piepoli MF, Hoes AW, Agewall S, et al. 2016 European Guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention in clinical practice. European Heart Journal. 2016;37:2315-2381.
(3) Kirchhof P, Benussi S, Kotecha D, et al. 2016 ESC Guidelines for the management of atrial fibrillation developed in collaboration with EACTS. European Heart Journal. 2016;37:2893-2962. https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/37/38/2893/2334964

About the European Society of Cardiology

The European Society of Cardiology brings together health care professionals from more than 150 countries, working to advance cardiovascular medicine and help people lead longer, healthier lives.

About the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology

The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology is the world’s leading preventive cardiology journal, playing a pivotal role in reducing the global burden of cardiovascular disease.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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Tobacco Industry Targeting Teens With Vaping

By Joyce Brewer
Guest Column
07:00PM / Thursday, May 03, 2018

Thanks to the tobacco and vaping industries targeting our youth, Berkshire County has experienced an increase in the use of e-cigarettes, such as the JUUL, by young people.

In my job, I speak with people throughout our region about the dangers of tobacco and about how the tobacco industry targets kids. Usually, they are alarmed and surprised to learn that youth use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices such as JUUL is not just another harmless fad, but that these products contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance that is getting youth hooked. Nearly 24 percent of high-school-aged youth in Massachusetts report using e-cigarettes and almost 45 percent have used them at least once.

Why are so many youth vaping? E-cigarette liquids come in more than 8,000 different flavors — from Swedish Fish, to s’mores, to bubblegum — that are familiar and attractive to young people.

And it’s working. Flavors are the leading reason that youth use e-cigarettes and the nicotine in these products leads to sustained use. We don’t want youth to become the next generation of tobacco users, but the tobacco and vaping industries do, and flavored e-cigarettes and vape pens are making it possible.

More high school youth in Massachusetts are now using e-cigarettes than all other tobacco products combined, AND they are using them nine times more often than adults. The tobacco industry has made these products SWEET, CHEAP, and EASY to get because they know that 90 percent of adult tobacco users started using tobacco before their 18th birthday. As parents and concerned adults, we can work together to prevent youth from becoming the next generation of customers for the tobacco and vaping industries.

Talk with your teenagers about vaping and learn about their school’s policy on it. Make sure they know that vaping is harmful and that nicotine is addictive and affects their brain development negatively. Effects of youth exposure to nicotine include increased risk for depression, mood disorders, or future drug addiction.

For more information contact me at jbrewer@berkshireahec.org or (413)236-2145, or Jim Wilusz at jim@tritownhealth.org or (413)243-5540. Find out how you can support local action in Berkshire County to stop Big Tobacco from sweet talking our kids. Also please visit GetOutraged.org.

Joyce Brewer is the program manager of the Berkshire Tobacco Free Community Partnership Berkshire Area Health Education Cente

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