Smoking as a Risk Factor for Stroke in Women Compared With Men
A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of 81 Cohorts, Including 3 980 359 Individuals and 42 401 Strokes
Background and Purpose—It is currently unknown whether the excess risk of stroke by smoking is the same for women and men. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the effect of smoking on stroke in women compared with men.
Methods—PubMed MEDLINE was systematically searched for prospective population-based cohort studies published between January 1, 1966, and January 26, 2013. Studies that presented sex-specific estimates of the relative risk of stroke comparing current smoking with nonsmoking and its associated variability were selected. The sex-specific relative risks and their ratio (RRR), comparing women with men, were pooled using random-effects meta-analysis with inverse variance weighting. Similarly, the RRR for former versus never smoking was pooled.
Results—Data from 81 prospective cohort studies that included 3 980 359 individuals and 42 401 strokes were available. Smoking was an independent risk factor for stroke in both sexes. Overall, the pooled multiple-adjusted RRR indicated a similar risk of stroke associated with smoking in women compared with men (RRR, 1.06 [95% confidence interval, 0.99–1.13]). In a regional analysis, there was evidence of a more harmful effect of smoking in women than in men in Western (RRR, 1.10 [1.02–1.18)] but not in Asian (RRR, 0.97 [0.87–1.09]) populations. Compared with never-smokers, the beneficial effects of quitting smoking among former smokers on stroke risk were similar between the sexes (RRR, 1.10 [0.99–1.22]).
Conclusions—Compared with nonsmokers, the excess risk of stroke is at least as great among women who smoke compared with men who smoke.
- Received May 29, 2013.
- Accepted July 2, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.