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Many smokers keep puffing post heart attack

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Many smokers keep puffing post heart attack
07:27 CEST+02:00
Only a little over half of smokers who have suffered a heart attack quit smoking, despite the habit being one of the largest risk factors for cardiovascular disease, a Swedish study shows.

“It's serious that so many smoke one year after a heart attack. But we don't want to lay the guilt on smokers,” Ulrica Klettner of the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation (Hjärt-lungfonden) told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

“These figures show that there is a lot of potential to increase care.”

One year after having a heart attack, 55 percent of smokers had kicked the habit, according to figures from the Heart-Lung Foundation.

But the statistics also show that patients' ability to stay smoke-free differs greatly across the country.

In Enköping in central Sweden, only three of ten heart attack patients managed to quit smoking, while in Falu, nine out of ten smokers have given up the habit following a heart attack.

The differences may depend on patients' income and education levels, but also how active hospitals work to help patients quit smoking.

At Falu general hospital, patients are offered the chance to attend “heart school”, which includes exercise and lectures. Patients who nevertheless drop out of “heart school”, are then offered various forms of individual support.

“One can be in the middle of a life crisis which makes it hard to tackle a smoking habit. Others just stick their heads in the sand,” Per Lennart Ågren, head of the cardiology clinic at Falu hospital, told the newspaper.

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