Young men who smoke have an increased stroke risk

Current smokers were 88 percent more likely to have an ischemic stroke than men who never smoked

Have a stroke before the age of 50? Young men who smoke are more likely to have one than their peers who avoid cigarettes, Reuters reports.

A small US study suggests that current smokers were 88 percent more likely to have a stroke than men who never smoked.

The simple takeaway is the more you smoke, the more you stroke,” said lead study author Janina Markidan of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Smoking causes inflammation in blood vessels that increases the risk of blood clots forming, which in turn increases the risk of stroke, Markidan exolains to Reuters.

For the study, researchers focused on what’s known as an ischemic stroke, the most common kind, which occurs when a clot blocks an artery carrying blood to the brain.

Smoking has long been linked to an increased risk of stroke in older adults, but research examining this connection in younger adults has mainly focused on women up to now. 

For the current study, researchers examined data on 615 men who had a stroke before age 50 and compared their smoking habits to a control group of 530 similar men who didn’t have a history of stroke.

Light smokers who had fewer than 11 cigarettes a day were 46 percent more likely to have a stroke. Heavy smokers with a two pack-a-day habit, or more, were over five times more likely to have a stroke.