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Atherosclerosis. 2009 Jul;205(1):23-32. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2009.01.007. Epub 2009 Jan 15.

Cigarette smoking: an undertreated risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

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Department of Cardiology, University of Lund, Malmö University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden.


Smoking and other forms of tobacco use are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The effect of cigarette smoking on cardiovascular health is evident even at the lowest levels of exposure. Yet, the adverse effects of smoking are reversible, with cardiovascular risk decreasing substantially within the first 2 years of smoking cessation. Significantly, the mortality from coronary heart disease is reduced more through smoking cessation than by other secondary preventive therapies such as cholesterol lowering. Smoking cessation is a highly effective way to improve cardiovascular health in smokers and extremely cost-effective. However, smoking cessation therapies are not implemented maximally if they are implemented at all, perhaps because smoking is seen as a lifestyle choice or because smokers frequently relapse, as indicated by very low long-term quit rates. Too often, healthcare professionals, including lipidologists and cardiologists, do little to address their patients' smoking status, in spite of its impact on cardiovascular health. With the advent of new therapies to treat the nicotine addiction that results from smoking and other tobacco use, it is hoped that physicians will be more proactive in encouraging and implementing smoking cessation programs for their patients, with the goal of increasing long-term quit rates, and reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with cardiovascular disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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