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Tobacco and the Heart

Wilbert S. Aronow, MD
JAMA. 1974;229(13):1799-1800. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230510067033.
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MOST people are aware that cigarette smoking is a primary cause of cancer of the lung. Fewer are aware of the link that joins smoking and heart disease.

Many studies, both prospective and retrospective, have shown that cigarette smoking is a significant risk factor contributing to the development of coronary disease, especially in young and middle-aged men. Cigarette smoking is associated with an increased incidence of myocardial infarction with sudden death, and with a shorter survival from the onset of acute coronary episodes. Heavy smokers have a significantly higher incidence of infarction and mortality from coronary disease than light smokers do. In addition, cigarette smokers who stop smoking have a significantly lower incidence of myocardial infarction and death from coronary disease than do those who continue to smoke.

Some studies have demonstrated that cigar and pipe smokers have a smaller increase in risk than cigarette smokers have, but in one


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