Tobacco is bad for your heart, regardless of how you are exposed to it. A Canadian-led international study found that tobacco exposure in all its forms -- smoking, chewing or breathing in second-hand fumes -- will increase your chances of having a heart attack.
However, the study headed up by Salim Yusuf and Koon Teo of McMaster University in Hamilton, contains a glimmer of hope for tobacco addicts and second-hand inhalers: Stop your exposure and your risk declines.
"Light smokers, those who consumer fewer than 10 cigarettes a day, benefit the most. They have no excess risk three to five years after quitting," said a statement released with the study published in today's edition of The Lancet.
"By contrast, moderate and heavy smokers of 20 or more cigarettes a day still had an excess risk of around 22 per cent, 20 years after quitting."
The number of smokers worldwide is estimated to be 1.3 billion, with 82 per cent in developing nations.