Quitting smoking 'as effective' as heart attack prevention drugs – New York Post

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There’s further evidence that smokers with heart disease should kick the habit as soon as possible if they want a shot at a longer life.
“Patients could gain nearly five years of healthy life” by quitting, said Dr. Tinka van Trier of Amsterdam University Medical Centre, the Netherlands.
Heart disease patients who quit smoking saw the same life-saving benefits as taking three different heart attack prevention medications, according to Dutch cardiac researchers, whose work was presented this week at a congress of the European Society of Cardiology.
“The benefits of smoking cessation are even greater than we realized,” said Van Trier, author of the new study, in a statement. “Our study shows that kicking the habit appears to be as effective as taking three medications for preventing heart attacks and strokes in those with a prior heart attack or procedure to open blocked arteries.”
Their research pulled data from 989 patients — nearly 80% men and an average age of 60 — who smoke despite a history of heart attack or stroke. Patients of this profile would likely be prescribed standard courses of antiplatelets, statins and blood pressure-lowering drugs.
Their statistical model estimated the years of life gained — without another heart attack or stroke — if they quit smoking, as well as for those who continued smoking but took three additional treatments to prevent cardiovascular event: LDL (“bad”) cholesterol-lowering bempedoic acid and PCSK9 inhibitors, as well as colchicine, an anti-inflammatory med.
Those who simply quit smoking gained 4.81 healthy years, while the others were just marginally better with 4.83, despite taking three additional drug therapies.
Smoking tobacco releases more than 7,000 chemicals into your lungs and blood stream, many of which weigh heavy on arteries, causing damage and constricting blood flow. At the same time, gases released into the lungs are captured by the blood, leaving less room for oxygen to reach the heart.
More than 480,000 people die annually in the US due to first or secondhand cigarette smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
“We know that cigarette smoking is responsible for 50% of all avoidable deaths in smokers, of which half are due to cardiovascular disease,” Von Trier noted.
Meanwhile, the doctor noted that the many other advantages of quitting tobacco, on respiratory health and cancer prevention, for example, were not figured into their study — suggesting that far more can be gained. “Smoking cessation remains a cornerstone of preventing heart attacks and strokes and improving overall health at any time,” she said.
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