According to new research, stroke survivors who smoke are at greater risk of additional strokes, heart attack or death than those who never smoked.
Those who quit smoking before their stroke also had less risk of poorer outcomes than current smokers, researchers found.
Researchers in Melbourne, Australia, tracked 1,589 patients who experienced a first or recurrent stroke in 1996-99. They followed them for 10 years, using medical records and in-person and telephone interviews, and tracked demographics, deaths, recurrent strokes and heart attacks.
They found that compared to those who never smoked, those who smoked when they had a stroke were 30 percent more likely to have a poor outcome.
Among those who survived the first 28 days after stroke, current smokers had a 42 percent higher risk of poorer outcomes.
Ex-smokers had an 18 percent higher risk of poorer outcomes.
"This research provides fresh incentive to quit smoking now or never start because it shows smokers fare far worse after strokes than non-smokers," said Amanda Thrift, Ph.D., the study's lead researcher and professor of epidemiology for the Department of Medicine in the Southern Clinical School at Monash University in Clayton, Victoria, Australia.
In the study, those living in disadvantaged areas were much more likely to smoke, with 52 percent of current smokers belonging to the most disadvantaged group, compared to 31 percent of those who never smoked.
The results were published in the American Heart Association's journal Stroke.