Study shows majority of smokers re-ignite their habit following heart attack

January 30, 2013, McGill University

(Medical Xpress)—A new study reveals that two-thirds of middle aged smokers who have been hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction resume smoking within twelve months, despite being treated with bupropion (sold as Zyban), which is prescribed to help those trying to quit because of its demonstrated capacity to reduce nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms without increasing heart rate or blood pressure the way nicotine replacement therapies will. This surprising finding, revealed in a study led by Dr. Mark Eisenberg, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital, is published in the latest edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology

" was that suffering a heart attack served as a significant wake-up call inspiring smokers to quit. But Dr. Eisenberg is quick to add, "nobody had ever studied this population a year after the event. In fact, it may be that even more than two-thirds return to smoking, because those who agreed to participate in our study were more motivated than those who didn't want to be involved in a cessation trial." 

The study used a randomized sample of 392 patients, whose median age was 54 and who smoked an average of 23 cigarettes per day. Six months after beginning treatment, smoking abstinence was 39% in the bupropion group and 33% in the . At twelve months, the prevailing abstinence rates were 37% and 32%, respectively. One positive outcome among the persistent smokers was a dramatic reduction in their daily cigarette consumption to an average of eight per day, with no difference between groups.   

"Notwithstanding the relapse rate we observed, the patients' significant decrease in consumption suggests that a subset could be effectively re-targeted for therapy," Dr. Eisenberg pointed out. "While any reduction is positive, the health benefits of complete abstinence are significantly higher than even modest smoking. However, there is no escaping the power of a nicotine addiction combined with the social and behavioural aspects of smoking. It is very tough to quit and there is no magic bullet, in the form of a pill, that will make quitting easy." 

Funding for the study was provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Quebec (HSFQ). 

The study, "Bupropion for Smoking Cessation in Patients Hospitalized with " by Dr. Mark Eisenberg et al can be found in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Explore further: Fake cigarettes increase success rate for quitting smoking

More information: … ge-of-cardiology/%20

Related Stories

Fake cigarettes increase success rate for quitting smoking

May 12, 2011
Nicotine-free plastic inhalers may increase a smoker's chance of quitting, according to new research published online in the European Respiratory Journal.

Recommended for you

A nanoparticle inhalant for treating heart disease

January 18, 2018
A team of researchers from Italy and Germany has developed a nanoparticle inhalant for treating people suffering from heart disease. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

January 10, 2018
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.