Scientists have issued a warning for women smokers: Their relative risk of coronary heart disease is 25% higher than that of male smokers, a review of studies from 1966 to 2010 reveals. The reason is unclear, but "women might extract a greater quantity of carcinogens and other toxic agents from the same number of cigarettes than men,” wrote the researchers in the Lancet. That “could explain why women who smoke have double the risk of lung cancer compared with their male counterparts."
The study examined data on more than 2 million people around the world, notes the CBC. “What makes the realization that women are at increased risk worrisome is that the tobacco industry views women as its growth market,” wrote two doctors in an accompanying commentary, according to MedPage Today. So while smoking rates are generally higher for men, the "targeting of both sexes is imperative for smoking prevention and cessation on a global, national, and individual basis.”