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Health

Most smokers don't think they have higher disease risk

graphic
BRIGHAM AND WOMEN'S HOSPITAL /
HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL STUDY

Current Smokers

  • 29% perceive risk for heart attack
  • 40% perceive risk for cancer

Current Smokers with Health Concerns

  • With hypertension: 48% perceive risk for heart attack
  • With angina: 49% perceive risk for heart attack
  • With family history of heart attack: 39% perceive risk for heart attack

Heavy Smokers

  • 39% perceive risk for heart attack
  • 49% perceive risk for cancer

Source: Journal of the American Medical Association

For more smoking facts, click here.

March 16, 1999
Web posted at: 7:00 p.m. EST (0000 GMT)


In this story:

Learn more about smoking from the American Cancer Society

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



BOSTON (CNN) -- Most smokers do not think they are at an increased risk of heart attack or cancer, according to a study published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Of current smokers, only 29 percent believed they were at higher-than-average risk for heart attack and only 40 percent believed they were at higher-than-average risk for cancer. For heavy smokers, those who smoke more than 40 cigarettes per day, only 39 percent acknowledged an increased risk of heart attack and 49 percent recognized an increase risk of cancer.

Even in those smokers with hypertension, angina or a family history of heart attack, less than half perceived a higher-than-average risk for heart attack.

The nationwide phone survey, of over 3,000 respondents between the ages of 25 and 74, was conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

In general, people 65 or older, those did not graduate from high school, and light smokers, those who smoke 1-19 cigarettes a day, were less likely to see an increased personal health risk than younger people, more educated people, and heavy smokers.

In light of these results, the researchers see a need for physicians and health professionals to identify and educate smokers who are not aware of smoking-related health risks as a part of smoking cessation efforts.



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RELATED SITES:
Journal of the American Medical Association
American Cancer Society
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