Nearly half of smokers who are diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases still cannot quit the habit, suggesting that follow-up care should include measures to help them stop smoking, a medical report said Thursday.
The report, written by a joint team of South Korean medical staff from different institutions, said a study of 1,700 patients identified as having cardiovascular ailments, such as strokes and heart attacks, showed 49.4 percent of them were still smoking after the diagnosis.
"We observed that a higher smoking amount and longer smoking duration before the diagnosis were associated with persistent smoking," read the report, published in PLOS ONE, a peer-reviewed science journal.
The report was based on a study of the patients between 2003 and 2012, taken from South Korea's National Health insurance sample cohort database. Results showed that 28.6 percent (486) of the people were smokers before the diagnosis. Among them, 49.9 percent (240) continued their habit even after the diagnosis.
Some picked up the habit again after the disease. For example, 13 of 194 people who had succeeded in quitting before the diagnosis said they started to smoke again. Twenty-four of 1,020 patients who had never smoked said they actually began to smoke after finding out about their disease.
The report cited that depression may be the reason for such behavior. "The feeling of hopelessness or depression experienced by patients after the CVD (cardiovascular disease) event could have been a trigger for the smoking relapse," it said. "The prevalence of depression among patients with cardiac disease is about two to three times higher than that found in the general population."
The results indicate that health care providers should periodically screen the smoking status of patients during follow-ups to lessen the risks of mortality and recurrence of the disease, the report said. (Yonhap)