Tragedy of needless deaths among young female smokers

Tuesday 26 October 1999
ASH/ Press releases/

102 CliftonStreet, London EC2A 4HW Tel: (0207) 739 5902 Fax: (0207) 613 0531

Press release Tuesday 26th October 1999
Embargo: 00.01

Action on Smoking and Health

Tragedy of needless deaths among young female smokers

Research released today shows that women aged 16-44 are suffering heart attacks, some fatally, because they smoke.[1] The study shows that around 400 heart attacks could be prevented every year in young women smokers if they were to stop smoking. Tragically, more than 100 women aged under 45 are dying every year as a result of their smoking habit.

ASH’s Research Manager, Amanda Sandford, said: “The fact that around one hundred young women are dying every year because they smoke is truly shocking. There is a common misconception among young people that smoking causes disease only in old people. This research demolishes that myth. It also shows that even light smokers are conning themselves if they think they are not at risk.”[2]

Sandford added: “This new study underlines the need for stop-smoking services to be targeted at those at greatest risk from the effects of smoking. Smokers who stop before the age of 35 can dramatically reduce their risk of contracting smoking-induced diseases.”

ASH also called on the tobacco industry to use this opportunity to demonstrate its proclaimed concern about youth smoking. “In the light of this research, it’s time the tobacco companies put their words into action, for example, by stopping all their youth-orientated promotions, “ said Amanda Sandford.

[1] Dunn, NR et al. Risk of myocardial infarction in young female smokers. Heart 1999; 82: 581-583)
[2] The study shows a relationship between the number of cigarettes smoked and risk of heart attack. Women smoking up to 5 cigarettes a day are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack as non-smokers of the same age, while smokers of 20 or more a day are 25 times at greater risk than non-smokers.


Contact Clive Bates, Director (0207) 739 5902
Amanda Sandford or Karl Brookes (0207) 739 5902

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