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Title: Risk of Cardiovascular Disease from Cumulative Cigarette Use and the Impact of Smoking Intensity.
Authors: Lubin JH,  Couper D,  Lutsey PL,  Woodward M,  Yatsuya H,  Huxley RR
Journal: Epidemiology
Date: 2016 May
Branches: BB
PubMed ID: 26745609
PMC ID: PMC5482174
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Relative risks (RRs) for cardiovascular disease (CVD) by smoking rate exhibit a concave pattern, with RRs in low rate smokers exceeding a linear extrapolation from higher rate smokers. However, cigarettes/day does not by itself fully characterize smoking-related risks. A reexamination of the concave pattern using a comprehensive representation of smoking may enhance insights. METHODS: Data were from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, a prospective cohort enrolled in four areas of the US in 1987-1989. Follow-up was through 2008. Analyses included 14,233 participants, 245,915 person-years, and 3,411 CVD events. RESULTS: The concave RRs with cigarettes/day were consistent with cigarettes/day modifying a linear RR association of pack-years with CVD (i.e., strength of the pack-years association depended on cigarettes/day, indicating that the manner of pack-years accrual impacted risk). Smoking fewer cigarettes/day for longer duration was more deleterious than smoking more cigarettes/day for shorter duration (P < 0.01). For 50 pack-years (365,000 cigarettes), estimated RRs of CVD were 2.1 for accrual at 20 cigarettes/day and 1.6 for accrual at 50 cigarettes/day. Years since smoking cessation did not alter the diminishing strength of association with increasing cigarettes/day. Analyses that accounted for competing risks did not affect findings. CONCLUSION: Pack-years remained the primary determinant of smoking-related CVD risk; however, accrual influenced RRs. For equal pack-years, smoking fewer cigarettes/day for longer duration was more deleterious than smoking more cigarettes/day for shorter duration. This observation provides clues to better understanding the biological mechanisms, and reinforces the importance of cessation rather than smoking less to reduce CVD risk.