Background:Current smokers have an increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk compared to ex-smokers due to reversible as well as irreversible effects of smoking. We investigated if current smokers remain to have an increased CVD risk compared to ex-smokers in subjects with a long and intense smoking history. We in addition studied if the effect of smoking continuation on CVD risk is independent of or modified by the presence of cardiovascular calcifications.Methods:The cohort used comprised a sample of 3559 male lung cancer screening trial participants. We conducted a case-cohort study using all CVD cases and a random sample of 10% (n = 341) from the baseline cohort (subcohort). A weighted Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate the hazard ratios for current smoking status in relation to CVD events.Results:During a median follow-up of 2.6 years (max. 3.7 years), 263 fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events (cases) were identified. Age, packyears and cardiovascular calcification adjusted hazard ratio of current smokers compared to former smokers was 1.33 (95% confidence interval 1.00-1.77). In additional analyses that incorporated multiplicative interaction terms, neither coronary nor aortic calcifications modified the association between smoking status and cardiovascular risk (P = 0.08).Conclusions:Current smokers have an increased CVD risk compared to former smokers even in subjects with a long and intense smoking history. Smoking exerts its hazardous effects on CVD risk by pathways partly independent of cardiovascular calcifications.

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Journal PLoS ONE
Jairam, P.M, de Jong, P.A, Mali, W.P, Isgum, I, de Koning, H.J, van der Aalst, C.M, … van der Graaf, Y. (2013). Impact of Cardiovascular Calcifications on the Detrimental Effect of Continued Smoking on Cardiovascular Risk in Male Lung Cancer Screening Participants. PLoS ONE, 8(6). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066484