WOMEN who smoke just one or two cigarettes a day are being warned that they face a high risk of sudden death.
A study of over 100,000 smokers has revealed that light-to-moderate smokers were twice as likely to die of sudden heart problems than those who had never smoked.
During the study, there were 315 sudden cardiac deaths - where the heart unexpectedly stops working.
In people aged 35 or younger, this is usually because of a heart condition that runs in the family.
But in people who are older than this - as most of the nurses in the study were - it can be the first sign of coronary heart disease, where the heart’s arteries become blocked by fatty deposits.
Of the 315 sudden deaths in the study, 75 were among current smokers, 148 were among recent or past smokers and 128 occurred in people who had never smoked.
The study has prompted health chiefs in the borough to urge people to give up smoking over the festive period and in the New Year.
Dr Kate Ardern Executive Director or Public Health for the Borough of Wigan said: “Smoking causes so many health problems but it is never too late to stop. Help is available across the Borough to help people of all ages stop smoking and I urge people to get help to stop as soon as possible.”
Ellen Mason, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study shows that smoking just a couple of cigarettes a day could still seriously affect your future health.
“As we approach the new year, many of us will be making resolutions and giving up smoking will be top of the list for lots of people.
“If you’re thinking of quitting and need a nudge, this research adds to the wealth of evidence that stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your heart health.”
A recent study in the Lancet of 1.2 million women found those who gave up smoking by the age of 30 would almost completely avoid the risks of dying early from tobacco-related diseases.
Cllr Keith Cunliffe, Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board and Wigan Council cabinet portfolio holder for healthier communities said: “Giving up smoking is a life-changing New Year resolution which can have a profound impact on you and your family. Don’t be daunted, you’re not alone. There are plenty of resources available to help you achieve this. And the benefits are significant, not simply on your health and those of your nearest and dearest but also on your pocket.”
Health chiefs say that if your 2013 New Year resolution is to stop smoking you can make an enormous difference to yourself and your family. In addition to the health impacts of smoking the costs of smoking are significant - 20 cigarettes per day over a year costs £2,646.25. Managing to give up smoking could mean that in 2013 you are able to buy mean a new car or enjoy a great family holiday.
There are a number of ways to access support to stop smoking. In addition to our local NHS Stop Smoking Services the majority of pharmacies are able to supply nicotine replacement therapy for the price of a prescription, help is also available from the local Health Trainer Service and your GP.
The Wigan Stop Smoking Service is a free NHS service dedicated to providing non judgmental advice and support to the people of the Wigan borough who wish to stop smoking.
Smokers who use their local NHS Stop Smoking Service are up to four times more likely to quit smoking. For more information or to book an appointment call free phone 0500 7867 669 or 01942 482539.
Or visit our website www.alwch.nhs.uk/stopsmoking