Smoking could more than double stroke risk in African Americans

Image of senior African American man with nurse in background

A recent analysis of data from African Americans found that those who smoke were nearly two and half times more likely to have a stroke compared to those who never smoked. But past smokers had a risk of stroke comparable to never smokers, according to published findings in the Journal of the American Heart Association. The study shows that quitting smoking lowers the risk for stroke.

The study included 4,410 participants from the Jackson Heart Study who were divided into three groups: 546 current smokers, 781 past smokers, and 3,083 never smokers. Researchers determined smoking status during the initial visit, as well as inflammation and atherosclerotic plaques in the carotid artery by noninvasively measuring the carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT).

Of the 4,410 participants, 183 developed stroke, with both past and current smokers having a higher incidence of stroke and increased CIMT than never smokers. The study’s findings support public health initiatives that are directed toward smoking cessation. The study was funded by NHLBI.