No Smoking After a Stroke!

Smoking after experiencing a stroke increases the risk of death

(RxWiki News) Not smoking after a stroke should be a no-brainer...but quitting smoking is tough, even after a stroke. Smoking cessation plans, support and medication could help.

A recent study asked stroke patients about their smoking habits. Results found that over half still smoked. They also had three times the risk of death than ex-smokers.

"Do not smoke after a stroke!"

Furio Colivicchi, MD, professor at San Filippo Neri Hospital in Rome, Italy, led an investigation into risks from smoking after having a stroke.

Dr. Colivicchi said, “It is well established that smoking increases the risk of having a stroke.”

“Quitting smoking after an acute ischemic stroke may be more effective than any medication in reducing the risk of further adverse events.”

“However, on the other hand, our study shows that stroke patients resuming active smoking after leaving the hospital can raise their risk of dying by as much as three-fold.”

For the study, 921 acute ischemic stroke patients aged 51-83, who smoked prior to experiencing a stroke.

While in the hospital, the patients went to counseling sessions to help then quit smoking, but no smoking cessation drugs, patches or gum were given to the patients upon discharge.

At one-, six- and 12-month intervals after hospital discharge, each of the patients was asked about their smoking status.

A total of 53 percent of the stroke patients returned to smoking.

Of those who returned to smoking, 10 percent of them died within a year of his or her stroke.

When compared to patients who did not return to smoking, smokers were three times more likely to die within that same year.

Dr. Colivicchi said, “In fact, those who resumed smoking within 10 days of leaving the hospital were five times more likely to die within a year than those who continued to abstain (not smoke).”

Dr. Colivicchi continued to recommend that hospitals provide more comprehensive smoking cessation education, support, tobacco replacement and treatment plans to help people stay quit after leaving the hospital.

These study results were presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress, August 25-29th, 2012 in Munich, Germany. No funding information was provided for this study, no conflicts of interest were reported.

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Review Date: 
September 6, 2012