While there are many health-related dangers associated with smoking, it appears that many smokers are not getting the message when it comes to the increased risk of developing or aggravating cardiovascular problems.
Whether ignorance of the risk or denial of the consequences is responsible, the study published in BMC Public Health found 52% of people with a history of one or more cardiovascular disorders (heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or PVD [peripheral vascular disease]) continued to smoke.
Although denial may, indeed, play a part in this phenomenon, the researchers say health care providers may not be giving adequate information to smokers about the relationship between cigarette smoking and heart disease.
The survey revealed that less than 4% of smokers had received counseling about quitting from a doctor during their last exam. Thus, ignorance of the risk may be at the center of the problem.
The researchers surveyed 3,778 current and former smokers about their health and smoking status. Some 52% of those diagnosed with a heart or circulation-related disorder, including high blood pressure, heart attack, angina (chest pain), heart failure, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, continued to smoke after their diagnosis. Even 28% of those those diagnosed with three or more heart conditions were still smoking.
(Source: WebMD Medical News 2/27/2006; BMC Public Health)