Girls are growing up faster today than ever. In some ways that's a good thing. It means they're more mature and make better decisions earlier in life - sometimes. Other times it means they get sucked into the same poor decisions adults make, but at an earlier age. And, just as with adults, poor choices very often lead to negative consequences.
A new study highlights the dangers of stroke among young female smokers. Scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore tracked over 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 49. Approximately 450 of these women had already had a stroke, and just over 600 had not.
The results are startling.
Current smokers were 2.6 times more likely to suffer a stroke than those who had never lit up. Heavier smokers fared the worst. Women smoking between 21 and 39 cigarettes each day were 4.3 times more likely to have a stroke. Crossing the 40 per day threshold made things even worse.
"Among women who smoked 40 or more cigarettes a day, the stroke risk increased more than nine times over that of a non-smoker," said John Cole, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of neurology.
While the outlook is bleak, the report also points to some positive news. As soon as a person quits smoking their risk for stroke begins to decline. At the two-year mark their risk is significantly less, and at five years they have no greater risk for stroke than a nonsmoker. Not only that, they'll feel better, their clothes will smell fresh and their teeth will sparkle.To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To find help to quit smoking, see this from Smokefree.gov.