Study: Women Smokers at Higher Risk of Heart Disease Than Men

Women who smoke are 25 percent more likely to develop heart disease than men, according to a U.S. study published in the Lancet medical journal Thursday.

Scientists, who reviewed 86 international studies involving 2.4 million people, found the risk ratio of smoking compared with not smoking for coronary heart disease was found to be 25 per cent higher in women than men.

This increased by 2 per cent each additional year of follow-up, meaning that the longer a woman smokes, the higher her risk of developing heart disease becomes compared with male smokers.

Smoking was thought to double the risk of a heart attack for both men and women. Scientist said the risks adjusted for each sex were not available -- but were roughly estimated to be around a 1.8 fold increase if men start smoking and around a 2.3 fold increase for women.

Reseachers said the reasons for their findings were unclear but it could be down to physical differences between men and women or differences in smoking habits.

The research was carried out by Dr. Rachel Huxley, of the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Mark Woodward, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

The researchers said, "Women might extract a greater quantity of carcinogens and other toxic agents from the same number of cigarettes than men."