PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – If you think there is a number of cigarettes a day you can safely smoke, think again.

The Nurses’ Health Study shows that even the occasional cigarette can raise your risk of dying.

A study published in the journal “Circulation” followed 100,000 women over 30 years. As it turns out, even smoking one to 14 cigarettes a day doubles the risk of sudden cardiac death.

Smoking more than 25 cigarettes a day more than triples the risk.

“We’ve always known that smoking is a risk factor for heart disease. So specifically sudden death was not something that was correlated specifically to smoking. And this study kind of clarified that,” Allegheny General Hospital Cardiologist Dr. Indu Poornima said. “Sudden death is more scary to people than just having a heart attack.”

Smoking causes blood vessels to narrow, and it makes you more prone to blood clots.

The good news is that 15 to 20 years after quitting, your risk returns to that of non-smokers.


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Dr. Maria Simbra