Evidence of stroke risk
- Epidemiological studies show that cigarette smoking is a major independent risk factor to stroke. (Goldstien et al 200)
- The risk associated is present at all ages in both sexes and among different racial/ethnic groups. (Sacco et al 2006)
- Smoking cessation and avoidance of second-hand/passive smoking are important strategies in the prevention of stroke and stroke recurrence.
- The prevalence of smoking is known to be linked to socio-economic status e.g. smoking prevalence is 45% in the most deprived 10% of areas compared to 11% in the least deprived 10%. (ASH Scotland 2009)
Relationship to stroke risk:
- Smoking increases the risk of high blood pressure – the single biggest risk factor to stroke. (The Stroke Association)
- Smoking makes the smooth lining of blood vessels rough which encourages the build-up of artheroma, the fatty material that narrows and blocks vessels.
- Smoking increases the amount of fibrinogen in the blood and makes blood stickier, thus increases the chance of blood clots forming which cause strokes.