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Circulation: arrhythmia and electrophysiology

Clinical Articles, Lead Article

Smoking-cessation reduces SCD

There is a strong dose-response relationship between cigarette smoking and sudden cardiac death (SCD) risk, and smoking cessation significantly reduced and eventually eliminated excess SCD risk, according to a study1 published recently in Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology.

Researchers examined the association between cigarette smoking and smoking cessation on the risk of SCD among 101,018 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study without known coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, or cancer at baseline 1980.

During 30 years of follow-up, they identified 351 SCD events. Compared to never smokers, current smokers had a 2.44-fold increased risk of SCD after controlling for coronary risk factors. In multivariable analyses, quantity of cigarettes smoked daily and smoking duration were linearly associated with SCD risk among current smokers.

Small to moderate amounts of cigarette consumption (1–14 per day) were associated with a significant 1.84-fold  increase in SCD risk and every 5 years of continued smoking was associated with an 8% increase in SCD risk. The SCD risk linearly decreased over time after quitting and was equivalent to that of a never smoker after 20 years of cessation.

iStock_000000207171XSmallThis suggests efforts to prevent SCD among women should include aggressive strategies for smoking cessation, the authors conclude.


1. Sandhu RK, Jimenez MC, Chiuve SE, Fitzgerald KC, Kenfield SA, Tedrow UB, Albert CM. Smoking, smoking cessation and risk of sudden cardiac death in women. Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2012.

Published on: December 20, 2012

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