Bad news for women who like to have a cigarette now and then while drinking a six pack of wine: Even one smoke more than doubles your risk of keeling over dead from a heart attack. Results from a three-decade study that followed the health habits of 101,000 American nurses found that even very light smoking dramatically increased the incidence of “sudden cardiac death”—these are the sneaky kind of heart attacks that just knock people over dead, with no warning and no previously known medical conditions.
Light-to-moderate smokers were twice as likely to die of sudden heart problems than those who had never smoked. But those who quit smoking saw their risk begin to go back down within years, a journal of the American Heart Association reports.
There’s always hope! But the hope takes “years,” while the single cigarette you puff outside the office Christmas party tomorrow might just be the one that kills you. If these studies keep it up, we may have to re-think this whole “cigarettes are good for you” philosophy we learned from Camel Cash.
Photo by John Benson.