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The risk and burden of smoking related heart disease mortality among young people in the United States.

  • Author(s): Khan, Rumana J
  • Stewart, Christine P
  • Davis, Sharon K
  • Harvey, Danielle J
  • Leistikow, Bruce N
  • et al.


Although cigarette smoking remains the most common risk factor for heart disease among the young, few studies have explored the relationship of smoking with heart disease mortality risk among young people. This prospective study assesses the risk and burden of all heart disease (HD) and coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality associated with smoking among younger adults from a nationally representative sample of the United States.


National Health Interview Survey respondents' data from 1997-2004 were linked to their death records through 2006. The analyses were restricted to individuals 18 to 44 years of age during follow up (n = 121,284). Cox proportional hazard ratios (HR) were estimated with adjustment for sample weights and design effects. Attributable fractions (AF) of smoking were calculated.


After controlling for age, race, body mass index, history of hypertension and diabetes, and leisure time physical activity, current smoking related CHD mortality HR was 14.6 [95 % confidence interval or CI, 3.3-64.9] for females and 3.6 [95 % CI, 1.2-10.4] for males. The HR for all HD mortality was 3.1 [95 % CI, 1.3-7.6] for females and 2.4 [95 % CI, 1.2-4.7] for males. The AF of smoking for CHD deaths for female and male were 0.58 and 0.54 respectively. The AF of all HD mortality was 0.31 for male and 0.32 for female. The mean estimates of all HD deaths attributable to smoking during 1997-2006 among this age group were 52,214, of which 45,147 were CHD deaths.


Even after adjustment for multiple risk factors and without addressing passive smoking, our result showed a strong relationship between smoking and HD and CHD mortality among young adults that is likely causal.

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