17 May : Non-smokers have longer life with lesser chances of getting heart disease as compared to the smokers, scientists said on Friday in Stockholm, announcing the result of a three-decade-long study which included about 54 thousand participants.The study, which started in 1974 in three counties of Norway, saw participation of 91 per cent of middle aged men and women residents of the area. Researchers from University of Oslo and Norwegian Institute of Public Health followed these patients for about three decades and matched the records with the national population registry.
Those surviving were again approached between 2006 to 2008 for a follow-up survey.Results show that 45 per cent of heavy smoking men had died during the period as against 18 per cent of those who never smoked.
In women also 33 per cent of the heavy smoking ones had died as against 13 per cent of those who never tried tobacco puff.
While announcing the results at EuroPRevent 2009 in Stockholm lead author Haakon Meyer from the University of Oslo said they provide a picture of the long-term, absolute "real life" risk looming over smokers.Meyers said around two-thirds of the middle-aged heavy-smoking men and half the heavy-smoking women had died or had a cardiovascular disease within 30 years.
"The incidence was much lower in never-smokers and reflects the tremendously adverse effect of smoking on health and longevity.
The difference in outcome between the never-smokers and heavy smokers was substantial," he said.Among men, 21 per cent of participants reported myocardial infarction as against 10 per cent of non-smokers.In women, only four per cent of non-smokers had heart disease as compared to 11 per cent of heavy smokers.
"There were also strong associations found between smoking and stroke and diabetes," he said.Based on the smoking habits, scientists had divided these participants in categories of never-smokers, ex-smokers, current smokers.
Current smokers were further divided on the basis of frequency of smoking with those 20 cigarettes a day were referred to as "heavy smokers"."These results show what a tremendous impact smoking has on mortality," the researcher said, adding "we are talking about very high numbers of people.