Background. The prognosis of patients with established coronary artery improves if smoking is stopped. Still, about half of patients who suffer a myocardial infarction continue smoking after that event. In order to predict to whom additional support should be offered, various baseline characteristics were compared with smoking status at short-term and long-term follow-up. Methods. Demographics, medical history, presence of coronary risk factors, psychological determinants, and the clinical course were recorded in a group of 530 unselected consecutive patients who had been admitted with a myocardial infarction and were smoking. Patients who were smoking at admission, and who were alive at 4-year follow-up, were studied to relate smoking status and baseline characteristics. Results. At 3 months, persistent smokers were younger than quitters, had shorter hospital stays, underwent revascularization procedures less often, smoked more cigarettes per day at baseline, and were more socially isolated. After 4 years, patients who stopped smoking had had a more serious myocardial infarction and had a lower displeasure score than those who continued smoking. Also, quitters received more support from their social environment. Conclusions. Although the majority of the patients try to stop smoking after a myocardial infarction, about half smokes after 4 years. In the future, special support should be offered to smokers who suffer myocardial infarction, especially to those whose psychosocial profiles are less favorable.

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Preventive Medicine
Department of Cardiology

van Berkel, D., van der Vlugt, M., & Boersma, E. (2000). Characteristics of smokers and long-term changes in smoking behavior in consecutive patients with myocardial infarction. Preventive Medicine, 31(6), 732–741. doi:10.1006/pmed.2000.0755