Light Smoking Impairs Arterial Health, Study Finds

Young smokers suffer reduced cardiovascular function even if they smoke only a few cigarettes per day, according to research from Stella Daskalopoulou at the McGill University Health Center.

Medical News Today reported Oct. 27 that Daskalopoulou and colleagues found arterial stiffness rose 25 percent when healthy 18- to- 30-year-olds smoked even a single cigarette. That makes the heart work harder and can increase risk of blood clots and high blood pressure, researchers said.

“Young adults aged 20-24 years have the highest smoking rate of all age groups in Canada,” noted Daskalopoulou. “Our results are significant because they suggest that smoking just a few cigarettes a day impacts the health of the arteries. This was revealed very clearly when these young people were placed under physical stress, such as exercise.”

When nonsmokers exercised, their arterial stiffness decreased, but the opposite was true of smokers.

The findings were presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2009.

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