An article by Welch Center Visiting Faculty Member Mark Woodward, PhD, about gender differences in risk of coronary heart disease from smoking has attracted media attention around the world. The article entitled “Cigarette smoking as a risk factor for coronary heart disease in women compared with men: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies” was published online ahead of print by the journal Lancet on August 11th. Dr. Woodward and his co-author reviewed and conducted meta-analyses of many prospective cohort studies published since 1966. The participants whose data was included numbered in the millions. Key findings show that smoking accounts for a 25% greater risk factor for coronary disease in women than in men.
News reports underscore the importance of this discovery in light of the tobacco industry’s strategy of campaigns targeted to women, especially in countries where smoking by women is becoming more common. The conclusions of Dr. Woodward’s research have been picked up by such major news sources as Reuters, BBC News, CBS News and MSNBC.com. Newspapers from the Guardian in England to the Albuquerque Express in the US have also printed reports of the findings. Medical and scientific online resources such as HealthDay News, Bio-Medicine.org, MedPageToday.com and the US DHHS’s Healthfinder.gov have reported on the article’s findings.
Perhaps especially important given the recent and projected demographics of smoking is the fact that the Lancet article’s findings have been reported in news sources in Africa, Ireland, Singapore, the Philippines, India and Pakistan.