A study from University of Alabama at Birmingham cautions heavy smokers about the constant risk of heart failure, even though some of them may have abstained from smoking for a decade or more.
The incidence of heart failure among never-smokers was 20 percent versus 29 percent among former smokers (who quit smoking 15 or more years ago) but smoked 32 or more pack years - a 44 percent increase in relative risk over non-smokers.
Compared with never-smokers, former smokers, who quit 15 or more years earlier but were among the highest quartile in pack years of smoking, also had an increased risk of heart attack and death from all causes. The risk of the former smokers in the lowest three quartiles in pack years of smoking was similar to that of never-smokers.
The analysis focused on 1,297 people who had quit smoking 15 or more years prior and 2,558 people who have never smoked.