Smoking increases the risk of blockage in the leg arteries (peripheral vascular disease) sevenfold and increases the potential of coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction fivefold (Chapter 10). Even passive smoking is dangerous. Although the proportion of male and female adult smokers has decreased over the last three decades, smoking has increased among girls. Twenty-five percent of women smoke, and many of these are very young, damaging their heart and lungs, sometimes irreversibly, at an early age.
Many women get angina and heart attacks for no other reason than smoking. Women who smoked more than 15 cigarettes per day and used "high-dose" estrogen oral contraceptives (now rarely prescribed) were found to have a 20-fold increase in coronary heart disease risk. Passive smoking increases coronary risk in men and women by 30%.
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