A large-scale piece of research has revealed that women smokers could be more at risk of heart disease than their male counterparts.
Analysis of previous studies involving a total of more than four million people found the increased risk of developing heart disease because of smoking is 25 per cent higher for women compared to men. Scientists speculated the reason could be down to physiological differences or cigarette smoke toxins having a more potent effect on women.
In Great Britain, 21 per cent of women and 22 per cent of men smoke cigarettes.
Ellen Mason, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “It’s alarming to see such a large study confirm that women are so much more at risk of heart disease from smoking than men.
“Despite women generally smoking fewer cigarettes a day than men, women appear to be substantially more at risk of getting heart disease. Biologically women seem more susceptible to the dangers of smoking and passive smoking.
“There is free support widely available on the NHS to help both men and women quit but more effort needs to be made to encourage women not to smoke in the first place – particularly the many young women who take up this addictive and harmful habit up every day.
“This is very timely research as tobacco companies are increasingly targeting women with slim brands and slick packaging. Introducing plain packaging would help to increase the effectiveness of health warnings and reduce the attractiveness and appeal of tobacco products.”
The latest research was a meta-analysis of 86 different studies and published in the Lancet.