LAKE HALLIE, Wis. (WEAU) -- All it takes is one, just one cigarette to suddenly kill you; especially if you're a woman.
It’s the killer the nation just can't kick. A new study shows women who smoke just one cigarette a day face double the risk for sudden death, when compared to women who don't smoke.
Researchers analyzed data collected from more than one hundred thousand women for thirty years. They found those who smoked between one and fourteen cigarettes a day had two times the risk for sudden death. That's when the heart abruptly stops working.
Dr. Thomas Sandager of Marshfield Clinic in Lake Hallie said even though men are more susceptible to heart attacks, women, and especially women-smokers can develop heart problems at a young age.
He said even one cigarette a day could lead to clogged arteries that can stop healthy blood flow to the heart.
"Sometimes women may not be taking this seriously, and they should, because women can have heart attacks at a young age as well. The youngest person I had that has had a heart attack was 33 years old, and it was a woman,” said Dr. Sandager.
But there is good news. The study also shows that quitting smoking had an almost immediate effect in reducing the risk of sudden cardiac death in women within five years after they quit.