Well, I’ve got bad news for you. You are not only increasing your risk for stroke, you are putting your spouse/partner at risk as well.
The study is based on analysis of data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a survey of 50-year olds and above Americans, sponsored by theNational Institute on Aging.
And figures to the support the bad news are as follows:
- For those who never smoked, being married to a current smoker was associated with a 42% increase in risk of stroke compared to being married to a never-smoker.
- For former smokers, being married to a current smoker was associated with a 72% increase in risk compared to being married to a never-smoker.
On the upside, quitting immediately lowers the risk of stroke of both the smoker and his/her non-smoking spouse. Thus, the stroke risks associated to being married to a former smoker and a never-smoker are not significantly different. This indicates that quitting really pays off, no matter when. In addition, your choice for a long-term life partner can actually determine your risk for stroke.This reminds me of Carrie Bradshaw ( of Sex and the City) trying to quit while dating a nonsmoker. However, smoking and partnership are far from just a TV adult comedy series. They are for real.
In another study, the effects of smoking cessation on your vascular system are observable soon after quitting. According to one study author:
“The harms of smoking are reversible, but for some causes of death, the reduction takes many years, so it’s never too early to quit smoking. On the other hand, for some diseases-eg, CHD-there is a rapid decline in risk, so it’s never too late to stop smoking, even if you’ve been smoking for many, many years”
The final analysis of the HRS data included 16,225 participants and their spouses who were followed up for an average of 9.1 years. Adjustments were made for age, ethnicity, Southern birthstate, parental education, and occupation, income and wealth, obesity, overweight, alcohol use, and diagnosed hypertension, diabetes or heart disease but the results were the same – smoking makes you susceptible to stroke and passive or secondhand or environmental smoke makes your spouse/partner susceptible as well.
Now, if your smoking habits adversely affect your partner’s health, how do you think does it affect your child/children’s health?
Studies have shown that children who have smoking parents tend to have health problems associated with the polluted environment they live in. These problems include heart problems, allergies and asthma attacks, sudden infant death (SIDS), gum problems and tooth caries, and sleeping disorders. Smoking before and during pregnancy has also been shown to increase the incidence of congenital heart defects.
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