Smoking: The Great Brain Drain Interview with:
“Stop smoking!” by Emil_95 is licensed under CC BY 2.0Janina Markidan MS III, MD Student

University of Maryland School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In a study of 1,145 young men, we found a strong dose-response relationship between the number of cigarettes smoked daily and the risk of ischemic stroke.

We categorized the participants as never smokers, former smokers and current smokers. Current smokers were divided into groups based on the number of cigarettes smoked daily, 1 to 10, 11 to 20, 21 to 39, or 40 or more.

We found that men who smoked were 88 percent more likely to have a stroke than men who never smoked. Among current smokers, men who smoked fewer than 11 cigarettes daily were 46 percent more likely to have a stroke than those who never smoked. But the heavier smokers, smoking at least two packs a day, were nearly 5 times (466%) more likely to have a stroke than those who never smoked. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The simple takeaway is “the more you smoke, the more you stroke”.

Although reducing the number of cigarettes smoked can reduce your risk of stroke,  quitting is still the best choice for smokers. These findings can also offer hope for quitters, as former smokers had a stroke risk that was closer to never smokers than to current smokers. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Due to its rising popularity among young people, it would be valuable to study stroke risk and other health consequences related to the use of electronic cigarettes. 


Smoking and Risk of Ischemic Stroke in Young Men
Janina Markidan, John W. Cole, Carolyn A. Cronin, Jose G. Merino, Michael S. Phipps, Marcella A. Wozniak, Steven J. Kittner
Stroke. 2018;STROKEAHA.117.018859
Originally published April 19, 2018

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Last Updated on May 1, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD